British Swimming has announced that it will cut funding to the Stockport ITC, while it continues to support the other four locations at Bath, Loughborough, Stirling, and Swansea, the organization announced today.
As a part of its post-Olympic review, British Swimming convened an extensive review of the ITC network that trains a majority of its elite-class swimmers. Citing a £3.7 million reduction in their funding ($5.8 million), British Swimming had to make difficult decisions and reallocate their resources.
Bath and Loughborough, arguably the two most successful ITC’s in the last Olympic cycle, will continue for four more years on “more cost effective terms;” in other words, with reduceed budgets. Stirling and Swansea are contracted until the end of 2013, again on “more cost effective terms,” while the new British direction team of Chris Spice and Bill Furniss sort through the matters and decide upon a long-term plan.
Among other unique solutions to save money, Swim Wales and British Swimming will work to combine Olympic and Paralympic swimming into the Swansea ITC.
This cut in Stockport comes just as one of the country’s brightest young swimmers, Lauren Quigley, joins the Stockport ITC, and Sophie Allen, who is older and therefore less dependent on where her family lives for training, left the center.
Out of the 44 members on Britain’s Olympic Team, at least half trained with an ITC (though as always in swimming, there is some wrangling among the exact numbers who officially swam with the ITC, versus the affiliated club program in the same pool).
British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes commented: “Our Olympic Performance Debrief, under the guidance of Craig Hunter and in conjunction with Bob Bowman, gave a clear indication that the system under-pinning swimming is world class and the ITCs at the heart of that system are clearly important.
“However, with significant budget cuts it has been necessary to look across the sport at savings and, while we’ve achieved considerable cost reductions in a number of areas already, it was inevitable that we would have to focus our more limited resources and operate with fewer ITCs.
“It is with great reluctance that the British Swimming Board, after a careful review of all five ITCs, has decided not to renew the contract with Stockport. We will now be looking at innovative ways in which we can support Stockport as a club going forward to build on the tremendous tradition that the club has of producing world class athletes.”