03 July 2019
Since Luke arrived in the club as head coach he has been working hard to get to know our swimmers, his team of coaches and teachers and, with them and committee reps, design an updated structure for our swimming squads. He has been doing this first and foremost to ensure that all our swimmers have the best chance of fulfilling their goals in our sport. Other benefits include making most optimal use of our limited pool allocation at our centres and matching coaches to squads in a consistent, progressive way.
Central to Luke’s vision has been the principle of one coach or teacher to each squad. Your feedback has long been that swimmers would like more consistency about who is coaching them, and you have wanted the reassurance that coaches get to know their swimmers really well. Also important has been for each swimmer to swim in a squad best matched to their own needs and to be able to be moved between squads flexibly (e.g., monthly). None of this proved possible with our old structure, which had evolved over many years organically and had become out of step with Swim England’s Long Term Athlete Pathway.
I am delighted that Luke has approached this difficult task in a collegiate fashion, working closely with his team, our chief administrator and club guru, Nic G, committee squad reps and our treasurer to make sure that the new structure is workable, affordable and fair, as well as giving our swimmers a great experience. He has also brought a wealth of hard-won lessons-learned from his time as head coach at Hart and Eastleigh.
Over the next few days Luke will be in touch with you to let you know to which squads he has allocated your swimmers. He has done as much as he can to ensure this is absolutely right, but inevitably there may be a few glitches. Please bear with Luke and us as we work our way through any of those. Please also don’t hesitate to get in touch with your squad reps or Luke if you are worried about any aspect of the demands of each squad. Luke is also very clear that he is flexible and understands the competing demands of education and other sports. Squad reps’ contact details will be on your email from Luke.
You will want to know more about each squad, where it fits in, the rough criteria for joining the squad, and also for moving on from each one. We will put lots of detail on the club website over the summer but, in brief, this is the general idea:
Platinum (top of teaching)
Development 3 (age 7+; minimum Swim England level 7; 1-2 sessions/week)
Development 2 (age 8+; aim to achieve Swim England licensed times at an open meet; competitive start award at this level; 2-3 sessions/ week)
Development 1 (age 8+; competent swimming of 200 free, 200 back, 100 breast, 50 fly, 100 IM with legal starts and turns; 4-5 sessions/week)
Performance 3 (age 9+; targeting county qualifying times; regular open meet participation; 5-6 sessions/week)
Performance 2 (age 11+; achieving County times; targeting regional qualifying times; 5-6 sessions/ week)
Performance 1 (age 12+; achieving County and Regional times; targeting national qualifying times; 5-8 sessions/week, including land training)
Elite Performance (age 14+; targeting English and British national qualifying times; 6-8 sessions/week)
At the more senior end of the club you will notice an unfortunate decrease in the available sessions at Alton pool. This has been a result of the limited session lengths we have available there, coupled with the need for our more junior sessions to have a presence in Alton. This is not what we want. We want to be able to deliver a greater number of more senior sessions at Alton pool. We have a lot of senior swimmers who live close to Alton and we want to be able to inspire our younger swimmers by showing off our top swimmers when our youngest are training. We are working hard to get more, longer pool bookings in Alton, which will allow us to rejig the squad programme and get more EP, P1 and P2 sessions in particular back in Alton. We expect to be able to do this as the new pool comes on stream early next year.
I’m really excited about these changes. With Luke at the helm delivering this new programme, our swimmers have a massive opportunity to achieve their goals and have a lot of fun doing so. Despite the inevitable uncertainty that a change like this brings, I hope you are too.
Chairman, ADSC Management Committee