Swim England Cutting High Performance Program in London

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: 

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Thurrock swimming club
7 years ago

the head coach has undoubtedly got herself a nice little job elsewhere

Steve Parkinson
7 years ago

The decision to cut the National Senior Squad from what should be the Centre of Excellence for British Swimming is inconceivable and totally unacceptable. This is the home of British swimming’s Olympic legacy and without a Senior Squad it may as well just become another public swimming baths. The squad is a winning combination! They have world class facilities, fantastic coaching and support, great team ethics and values and potential future Commonwealth and Olympic medalists. It appears however that in the eyes of the UEL and Sports England that the squad has now served its purpose by attracting and encouraging younger swimmers and therefore the squad is now expendable. Destroying this winning combination could potentially ruin the future careers of… Read more »

7 years ago

Mel Marshell seems like a great coach- but she can’t coach everyone surely

Reply to  Skipper
7 years ago

They have plenty of talented coaches. Did Mel coach anyone else on the olympic team to Rio?

Reply to  korn
7 years ago


Pixie Lale-Klasicki
Reply to  Skipper
7 years ago

Aimee has options as she isn’t strongly tied to london although none of which are ideal! however, members such as myself have uni commitments for a further 3 years and i now have no where convenient to train. I have arranged to live in stratford (6miles from my uni) so i could continue to train and optimise my sleep. now, i am left with clubs such as Ealing (the other side of london) and chelsea and westminster (central london which is still 45-60 mins away from stratford). whilst these are good clubs the thought of traveling that far twice a day and attending uni 25hrs a week puts me off! We also have nationals approaching and we haven’t been given… Read more »

Reply to  Pixie Lale-Klasicki
7 years ago

Sucks that they are cutting the squad, but will 16 pool hours still be available to yourself? Seems like that wouldn’t be too bad, could maybe jump in with one of the other clubs once or twice a week, or a couple land sessions would make up the difference. 16 hours a week alongside Uni is more than enough in my opinion!

Hopefully something works out for yourself & the rest of the team, sure loads of clubs/programmes will be willing to help you guys out in the meantime.

Reply to  Pixie Lale-Klasicki
7 years ago

This is a simple example of Incompetance……not from the coaches nor the swimmers. The organisation charged with operating the Olympic Pool, a charity, charged in the region of £200,000 for pool hire…..now the ‘officials’ claim the Performance Centre is losing money!!!! Look closely at how the officials run this fantastic opportunity into the ground, there is a sad story here.

About Kierra Smith

Kierra Smith

Kierra Smith Kierra Smith is a Canadian breaststroke specialist and NCAA champion. Born Feb. 1, 1994 in Vancouver, Smith was a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota and was the 2015 200-yard breaststroke NCAA Champion with the third fastest 200 breaststroke time in NCAA history. University of Minnesota 2012-2013 As a freshman Smith made …

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