Swimming Western Australia, home to 85 swim clubs and over 10,500 members, has announced plans for a third High Performance Training Center (HPTC) to open, this time in Perth, by next summer. Scheduled to be in operation come May 2017, the new center is funded by Swimming WA in partnership with the Western Institution of Sport (WIS), and is expected to be based at Beatty Park.
Western Australia was represented by one Paralympic swimmer, as well as three Olympic swimmers in Rio de Janeiro this summer, including the youngest member of the Aussie contingency, Tamsin Cook. Cook earned a silver medal as a member of the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay. The purpose of opening another HPTC is to keep rising stars like Cook from leaving WA for greener pastures in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
Of the prospect of a new center opening in Perth, Cook says “It’s given me a reason to stay in WA,” she tells Perth Now. “I feel that I’ve been provided with the same resources that athletes on the east coast perhaps have been provided with a high performance training centre.”
Chief Executive of Swimming WA, Darren Beazley, also points to fear of losing out on top talent, as research showed ‘the number of WA swimming clubs producing elite swimmers is declining.’
Beazley says to Perth Now, “The move by swimmers to the eastern states in recent years in search of perceived better coaching and career advancement can no longer be ignored.”
“A major issue that our clubs face on a daily basis relates to rising costs associated with swimming ranging from increasing entry fees when athletes and coaches access facilities, increasing lane hire charges, the financial challenges associated with attracting high quality coaches to develop quality programmes and so on. All of these rising costs create challenges to keep Swimming WA clubs sustainable and attracting “first class athletes” is our biggest threat.”
“The new centre will become a resource for surrounding Swimming WA clubs, coaches and administrators so that knowledge, skills and the latest techniques are shared for the benefit of swimming in the entire district, not just one club,” Beazley explains.
Perth was home to world-class swimmer-turned-restauranter, Eamon Sullivan. At one point Sullivan owned the men’s 100m freestyle world record, an event in which he earned a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Sullivan was named this year as the 56th inductee to the Swimming Western Australia Hall of Fame.