England Creates Development Program

LONDON, June 27. ENGLAND has unveiled a new development structure designed to identify and nurture emerging talent while giving athletes a clear pathway to the Olympic podium. British Swimming's new-look World Class Pathway will comprise World Class Podium, World Class Development and World Class Talent, and will be fueled by a new Amateur Swimming Association England Talent Development program.

Funded by UK Sport, World Class Podium will focus on athletes ranked top 16 in the world, World Class Development for athletes six to seven years away from the podium and World Class Talent will offer opportunities to identify talent that could be fast-tracked further up the pyramid. The former World Class Age program will be replaced Sept. 1 by the England Talent Development Program, with the aim of providing a continual stream of talented youngsters for the World Class Pathway.

The new system also takes into account limitations placed on the development of athletes due to a diminished stock of 50-meter facilities which are integral to producing athletes able to compete at the Olympics. The target is to develop eight to10 effective Regional High Performance clubs (HPC) operational by September 2008. These will be spearheaded by a head coach appointment at each program, underpinned by a network of quality-accredited clubs that can give the best opportunities to emerging English talent.

"We've refocused on the entire process of identifying and taking care of young talent," said Anne Adams-King, the program director. "It's an exciting time for developing swimming within England as we're going to have a program that concentrates on English swimmers which we've been unable to do for too long. There are schemes in place in Scotland and Wales, and now the plan is to put one in place, separate to British Swimming, to develop the next generation of English talent.”