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Loughborough announced as a national centre for swimming

British Swimming has unveiled plans to launch two national centres, one of which will be based at Loughborough University, to provide the foundation for the sport as it continues to prepare for the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The British Gas GBR National Centres for Swimming will be based at Loughborough University and the University of Bath. They will become performance hubs for the sport from the beginning of the New Year.

The centres will grow from their current centre-based training group programme to a more all-encompassing approach to preparation, development and education for both athletes and coaches both within and from outside the centres.

National Performance Director for British Swimming Chris Spice is pleased to be able to start the Commonwealth Games year with the National Centres in place to support preparation of the home nations.

“These new British Gas GBR National Centres for Swimming will be driven by a real ethos of learning and development for all of those athletes and coaches who have been identified as being able to achieve their potential on the international stage,” said Spice.

“Athletes and coaches both from within and from outside of the centres will be able to utilise world class facilities, sport science and medicine support as well as development and educational services within these unique performance environments.”

The National Centres will adopt an open door policy for athletes and coaches within the world class system and they will be invited to attend both performance and sport science testing programmes.

“We will be encouraging coaches and athletes to utilise the National Centres as they take on a performance hub role,” explained Spice.

“Athletes aligned to our programmes will be assigned to the National Centres for medical screening, performance analysis and coach education. It’s important to change the training environment and add fresh stimulus while expanding on knowledge and these centres allow us to do this.”

Peter Keen, Director of Sport at Loughborough University, said:

“I am delighted that British Swimming has confirmed Loughborough University as a National Centre for Swimming, and that we will therefore continue to support the best swimmers and coaches in the country as they plan for and train towards Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

“The timing and significance of this decision is particularly relevant for us as the University is preparing to launch a new, ambitious strategy for sport which aims to build even stronger partnerships with major national sports organisations.

“At Loughborough we believe we offer a unique sporting environment that balances the demands placed on students aspiring to be international athletes.

“Our facilities and expertise, alongside our strong sporting ethos will help to ensure that high performance Swimming will feel at home on our campus. My colleagues and I very much look forward to supporting the efforts of British Swimming to raise its game and achieve its potential.”

Head Coach Kevin Renshaw will continue to lead the British Gas GBR National Centres for Swimming, Loughborough working with National Sprint Coach James Gibson.

They will be supported by a graduate assistant coach in the New Year following a selection process that has attracted nearly 80 applicants.

Commenting on the announcement Head Coach Kevin Renshaw said:

“I am delighted that Loughborough is to be one of its two National Centres. Personally, I feel honoured to be the Head Coach of such a prestigious centre here at the UK’s number one sporting University. This is great news for Loughborough and great news for swimming in Great Britain. 

“We have the perfect blend of youth and experience here in the programme with seven swimmers having competed in London last year along with five swimmers having been placed on this year’s Podium Potential Programme.

“Myself and National Sprint Coach James Gibson will be leaving no stone unturned in our pursuit of excellence and ensuring that British Swimming gain the success it is striving for in Rio 2016.”