Today Swimming Australia announced the creation of the Podium Centre Program which will include a Podium Potential Program. This program will essentially replace the Centre of Excellence Program which has assisted a network of teams for the last four years by providing them with quality support and assistance for both their coaches and athletes.
“This is about fine-tuning our Centres of Excellence programs to meet our Winning Edge targets for Rio and beyond, and to do that we need to ensure we maximise our key resources and allocate funding accordingly to the priority programs which we’ll now be calling Podium Programs,” said Michael Scott, Swimming Australia’s Director of High Performance.
After an Olympics in London that the Australians rather soon forget the Australian Sports Commission created the Winning Edge Program which has been put in place to enhance the performance of all sports in Australia. The goals of the program include:
- Top five at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics
- Top 15 at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics
- Number one in the Commonwealth
- 20 plus World Champions Annually
One of the strengths of Australian swimming has been their club system. Throughout the years many of the country’s top swimmers have been developed at smaller clubs throughout the country the goal of this program is to ensure that the swimmers and coaches in the club system are receiving the necessary support to excel on the international stage.
“The beauty of our sport, and as history tells us this, is that there will always be an athlete or coach that performs from a smaller club and through the Podium Potential Program we hope to be able to provide assistance and resources to these training environments as well.”
Teams will have to apply to receive the support of the program and there will be reviews conducted twice a year. This type of accountability is strongly emphasized within the Winning Edge Program.
The focus of this new program is to give clubs improved support so it enhances their program on a daily basis.
The first tier within the program will see clubs with strong track records of results receive a Podium Centre status whereas the second tier of Podium Potential status will be given to clubs that the program’s management believe will achieve world class results within the next three years if they are given the appropriate funding.
The basic criteria include:
- Full employment,at a salary level agreed to by SAL, of an ASCTA licenced Swimming Coach with a proven track record of enabling and achieving international success
- Regular,comprehensive and guaranteed access to a heated 50m pool
- Employment of suitable support and assistant coaches to enable high!performance outcomes
- Regular and comprehensive access, generally through a documented partnership with State
- Institute or Academy of Sport, to qualified, insured and accredited Sport Science and Sport medicine providers
- Evidence of an existing relationship with a proven development and age group pathway program
- Evidence of current investment or resourcing that facilitates high performance swimming outcomes
- A commitment to supporting SAL’s National High Performance Agenda, especially in the areas of national and international competition, coach mentoring, coach wellbeing, athlete and coach attendance at national team activities
The funding is targeted at improving the identified weaknesses within the club system such as:
- Coach remuneration and retention
- Coach wellbeing
- The coaching of foreign swimmer
- Technical deficiencies
- Performance planning and monitoring
Each Podium Centre will receive $300,000 and each Podium Potential Centre will receive $150,00 of support for an investment period from January 2014-December 2016.
The full program document can be found here