Our Mission and Ethos
Founder, Simon Cowen
Since Simon Cowen founded the club 20 years ago, Tilehurst Swimming Club has always been about developing a love for swimming at a young age. The swimmers are taught in a way that does not frustrate them or “burn them out.” Instead, it provides a healthy community for active children to explore their full potential in and out of the water.
At TSC we teach the children stroke development with an aim towards proficiency in all 4 competitive strokes, and we provide opportunities for them to compete when they are ready and without pressure. Research has shown that children who embrace swimming at a young age tend to live healthier lifestyles as they grow into adulthood. Tilehurst Swimming Club aims to provide a comfortable place to do just that.
Pushing young swimmers (<13 years old) to compete at the county, regional, or even national level can sometimes have a long-term detrimental impact. While competing at a very high level is a great achievement for a young swimmer, what is required to get there is hours and hours of time in the pool. Most children stop enjoying the sport when pushed that far, and when they get to be teenagers, they leave the sport completely. At TSC, we are proud that we retain the majority of our swimmers all the way up to and through university age. We achieve this by not putting too much pressure on our members when they are young. When a swimmer enters the teen years and has the desire to explore his/her full potential, we have an elite program to encourage him/her to reach for the stars. TSC has many swimmers who are achieving this today. However, in a sport where 20% of the kids qualify to compete at the county level, 5% at the regional level, and 1% at the national level, our ethos is to ensure 100% of the squad enjoys the sport and not just the 20% who have the desire and ability to compete at the top echelon.
What we ask of the swimmers is to show up to training with a positive attitude and a dedication to their own development. We ask parents to encourage their children and reinforce what they are learning from their coaches. Unlike other sports, swimming is a progressive set of skills. Good foundations cannot be rushed or forced.
Above all, Tilehurst SC aims to provide a comfortable opportunity for young swimmers to learn how to balance the many things life has to offer. The swimmers will be challenged with balancing their swim schedule against school demands, personal life, and other sports. The overall aim is to help the children through this period in their life and develop a love for swimming that will remain with them through adulthood.