The London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme (LACPP) is a high performance program in London, England. It aims to maximize opportunities for swimmers and create a recognized pathway to high performance swimming within London. There are three squads within the program: Legacy, National Youth Squad, and National Senior Squad. Two of the four core objectives of the LACPP are to create a seamless, quality assured and fully integrated competitive pathway, and to achieve swimming success on a regional, national and international level through talent identification from London.
Friday, eight swimmers woke up to an email that the National Senior Squad was to be cut. “I’m just disgusted at the way in which we received this information. It ultimately means that there are now life changing decisions to be made.” Said Olympic finalist Aimee Willmott. This means there is an Olympic coach out of a job and swimmers who are expected to perform at Wold Championships in Budapest this summer without secure pool training time. The LACPP is currently home to eight National Senior Squad swimmers. Edmund Ashton, one of the members who began training in the centre when it opened, said he will have to look at leaving London if he wants to continue training for Tokyo 2020. “Unfortunately my old programme is insufficient, in London we only have one performance centre which is now being taken away.”
Looking solely at long term performance, LACPP is cutting their senior program to ensure sustainable club structure. In the future they hope to support a National Senior Program again. LACPP is funded by the University of East London (UEL) on behalf of Swim England. The program was put together in 2014 to create a clearcut pathway for young swimmers to develop to performance levels. Although the initial funding was only through to 2018, by now they’d hoped that the program would be sustainable. Failing that, UEL made the executive decision to cut the National Senior Squad and focus on their lower end squads.
In the email sent to the seniors, it said that they had actually done a great job. “There really isn’t a valid reason” began Willmott, “the letter stated how ‘we did our job’ bringing younger swimmers to the programme, and this is what is upsetting.” The program is going to keep the two younger squads running and build them up until they are the new National Senior Squad. “I just can’t see where the legacy now lies if they’re pulling the senior programme so the children’s there will have nowhere to go.”
Willmott uprooted her life and moved to London to train with this high performance program in hopes of having a solid platform leading into the Commonwealth Games, and ultimately Tokyo 2020. Willmott is Team Englands swimming ambassador for the Commonwealth games next year. Willmott moved to London in 2014 specifically to swim with Lisa Bates, British Olympic team coach. Now, being told via email, Willmott has to uproot again and find new training grounds. “I honestly thought we deserved more as swimmers.” There is no specific information on when the program is going to officially be closing, but the swimmers were told to find somewhere else to go. “Currently I haven’t really thought about my next move I just need to focus on the now.” And the now is World Championships in Budapest, and then Commonwealth games in Australia next April.
Below is a screenshot of the email via Edmund Ashton’s twitter: