SwimMark Club
Club Mark


Our History

The Squad began in September 1973 and was called the Notts ASA Training Scheme. The Notts ASA employed a part-time coach and training sessions were held in Nottingham in the early mornings and early evenings.

Initially the scheme was started as a six-month pilot to give time for the Notts ASA to approach the local authority to support it. Unfortunately, owing to local government reorganization, it was necessary to continue the scheme on a part-time basis until 1976.

During this time, negotiations with the newly formed Nottinghamshire County Council Leisure Services Department proved successful and the scheme was adopted by them in April 1976.  In May 1976 the first full-time coach was appointed and this policy was continued when the present coach, Bill Furniss, took up his post in August 1980. During this period the name was changed to the present Notts County Swim Squad and the first attempts to form a link squad in the Mansfield area were made.

In the early 1990's the squad was extended to the Bassetlaw area and a coach / development officer post was created on a jointly funded basis between Notts County Council Leisure Services and the Bassetlaw District Council. Shortly after this the Mansfield District Council came on board with a similar arrangement for funding a similar position in Mansfield, taking responsibility for the Squad in that area. Later it a Development Squad was formed to cover the Newark & Sherwood District. This gave us a countywide squad, which meant that no swimmer should have to travel excessive distances to train with a professional coach in a squad situation. With the current staff, the County probably has more fully qualified coaches than any other County, all working, together with various other assistant coaches in the same organization.

When the County Swim Squad was taken over in 1976, it was hoped that for any competition of a regional, national or international level, members of the Squad would be able to swim together as a team whilst still swimming at a local level for their individual clubs. Unfortunately, the rules of the Amateur Swimming Association did not allow for squads to affiliate and in this way take part in competitions.

It was decided, therefore, to form a separate club, Nova Centurion, whose members would, in the main, also be members of the County Swim Squad in order that the above objectives could be achieved whilst still keeping faith with local clubs and ASA rules. Nova Centurion is in effect the competitive side of the County Swim Squad.

All members of the Notts County Swim Squad are automatically members of Nova Centurion, the subscription being part of the monthly Squad payments. This also applies to Mansfield Squads, creating a competitive outlet at Midland District and above for all swimmers in the County.

In 2001 Nova Centurion SC was one of only six clubs in Great Britain to be recognised by the ASA as a high performance club and awarded funding through the World Class Performance programme. This recognition has continued through various forms of National and Regional funding, and the system in Nottinghamshire is seen as a model for all Counties and has been Swim21/SwimMark accredited at both Competitive and Performance level since 2003.

In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics Rebecca Adlington won two gold medals in the 400m and 800m Freestyle, breaking the World Record in the 800m. Rebecca had come from Sherwood SC on to the Mansfield Squad and then to the Nottingham A Squad. At the 2008 Paralympic Games, Sam Hynd won Gold and Bronze in his category, having trained on the Mansfield Squad. Charlotte Henshaw, MBE started with the Mansfield squad when she was 12 years old and won a Silver in London 2012 in the SB6 category 100m breaststroke and also went onto to win a Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the same event.  Ollie Hynd, MBE who started with Mansfield when he was 10 years old and progressed through the system to win Gold, Silver and Bronze at the London 2012 Paralympics and also went on to win 2 Gold medals in the Rio Paralympics in 2016 in the S8 400m freestyle and the SM8 200IM. A Silver medal at the same Paralympics was also won. Proof that the system works!

More recently Freya Colbert was selected for the 2022 CommonWealth Games and won bronze in the 4x200m freeystyle relay.

In 2011 as part of the reduction in County finances, the Notts County Council changed its policy regarding sports coaching and informed the Association that as from March 2012 they could no longer employ the coaches, and there would be a reduction in their financial support including the squads Mansfield and Bassetlaw. After much consultation it was agreed that the Swim Squad would return to being managed by Notts ASA. Both Nottingham and Mansfield are now managed by Notts ASA.

Joseph Stanford is now the Director of Coaching with full involvement in the day-to-day coaching in Nottingham, but with an overseeing role of all other Squads.