It can take years to produce a champion, so in most cases a youngster will be identified and nurtured within their club environment. Swim England has a number of  development pathways to ensure that an individual’s talent is identified and developed to help them reach their full potential.

The clubs work with the pool operators and other community partners to identify talented individuals and introduce them to a structured training and competition programme. These feed into the club structure which operate in, and are supported by, many facilities who have the appropriate facilities available. The facilities with clubs operating at the higher range of the talent programme based at the John Charles Aquatics Centre in Leeds, Ponds Forge in Sheffield and the Sunderland Aquatics Centre.  The structure has a track record of producing world class athletes who have competed and won titles at the highest level.

Clubs across the region introduce athletes to this discipline, nuture and develop their skills and compete at the appropriate level.  Appropriately talented individuals have the opportunity to progress further to train with other individuals of a similar standard or above from the network of clubs mainly focused in the Leeds area. Talent camps take place within the region with individuals given the opportunity to complete in overseas competitions and at home nations and British competitions.

A range of clubs operate across the region which cater for entry level athletes who can develop their skills and progress through to local, district, regional and nation competitions. There is also the opportunity to travel abroad and play overseas in competitions. The region organises training sessions for talented individuals in the regional academy structure and enters teams in the National Age Group competitions. Several individuals have gone on to progress to compete at an international level.

The North East has Performance clubs and within Northumberland and Durham, the county support a Swimming Development Programme which runs regular performance sessions and supports the maintenance of four swimming hubs. The development programme compliments the work that is being done within the swimmers and coaches home programmes and also offers coach mentoring and continued professional development opportunities.

The current swimming hubs are:

Swim England also has a specific Talent Development programme that takes youngsters who have already shown promise and gives them access to quality coaching, athlete educational schemes and physiotherapy screening within a training camp environment that will prepare them for future international competition. These camps run at a county and regional level before progressing onto a national and international level.

You can view the latest Northumberland and Durham Swimming Development Programme news stories by clicking here.