The Wales National Pool in Swansea will be the home to the new Welsh Swimming National Performance Centre, Swim Wales has announced.
The creation of a hub for elite and performance swimming in Wales will include disability swimming and has seen renowned coach Billy Pye join the coaching team.
After a direct funding agreement from British Swimming into Swim Wales for the first time, and significant support from Sport Wales, the Welsh governing body has established Wales’ first swimming performance centre.
As well as the elite squads, the Welsh Swimming National Performance Centre will also be the home to Swansea University Swimming and City of Swansea Aquatics.
The structure will also enable Swim Wales to continue access to pool space at the Wales National Pool.
“I believe this will bring a better programme for elite and performance swimming in Wales,” said Martyn Woodroffe, Swim Wales National Performance Director.
“We can now invest directly in our own structure, which gives us greater flexibility and the opportunities of developing more Welsh swimming talent.
“I think the proof is there by having a first class coaching team supporting all our groups. We have some excellent talent here such as Jazz Carlin, Jack Thomas and Morgyn Peters.
“We’re looking to extend the numbers we have at the moment and we now have stability with the centre that can help us move forward.
“We will also fit with the British pathway so we feed athletes into the Great Britain system and provide the best possible training and coaching for those capable of winning medals at the very highest level.”
Sports science and medical support will be provided in an agreement with Sport Wales, while a physiotherapist and a strength and conditioning practitioner have been employed by Swim Wales to work at the Performance Centre.
Sport Wales now invests around £900,000 annually into grassroots and elite swimming in Wales.
Sport Wales Chief Executive Sarah Powell commented:
“We were always clear there is a strong role for Wales to play in elite swimming. By bringing all the partners together under a clear plan there will be significant benefits for our own swimmers and those who choose Wales as their training base.
“The opportunity is there to build on the reputation of Swansea as a base of excellence and medal winning that we have seen in recent years.”
Anne Ellis, Chair of the Board of Wales National Pool Swansea, said:
“This is a really exciting development for Wales National Pool Swansea and for the whole of Wales. We have an incredible track record of developing talented internationally-successful athletes in Swansea that has seen success at Commonwealth, Paralympic and Olympic Games over the years.
“The decision to invest in a Welsh Swimming National Performance Centre in Swansea will build on that success story and is a huge vote of confidence in the team.”
And there will be a new addition to the coaching team in Swansea. American Bud McAllister will be leaving Swansea after seven years to take up a new position overseas. The elite groups will be overseen by the coaching team of Billy Pye, Stuart McNarry and Adam Baker.
“My time in Swansea has been a great experience. It is by far the best coaching position I have had in my career and I am grateful to all the people along the way that have helped me during that time as I move on to the next chapter in my career,” said McAllister.
McAllister was employed by British Swimming but a new coaching position will now fall under the Welsh Swimming National Performance Centre.