Memorandum submitted by Cumbernauld Swimming
THE SPORT OF SWIMMING
I refer to the notice inviting written evidence
from interested parties and wish to express my observations with
specific reference to Facilities and training support for competitive
I have 40 years of experience of coaching in
local community clubs, with my last thirty years at Cumbernauld
Swimming Club. During that time we have achieved a reasonable
level of success with local swimmers representing Scotland at
the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
During this period I have also worked as a Coach and Team Manager
with Scotland and Great Britain Swimming Teams. All of these achievements
have been gained with very little support from any external agencies.
Whilst appreciating that many of our sports
have existed in a similar way, there is now a well deserved programme
of support for the Elite athletes through the Lottery Funding
Scheme, which has been long overdue and should be welcomed by
all persons interested in the future development of sport in our
country. All of our Junior and Senior Elite athletes have a well
defined and structured programme to enable them to reach their
maximum potential and compete on level terms with other enlightened
However the window of opportunity for learning
specific skill starts at a very younger age level and it is at
this time we must get it right, if the youngsters are to achieve
maximum performance in the future.
Therefore if we are serious about competing
at the highest World and Olympic level then the support needs
to start at a much lower level. The clubs who nurture these young
swimmers must be given more support in;
Access to training facilities, that
is not financially crippling.
Financial support to subsidise employment
of qualified coaches.
Recognition of their important role
in sports development, and in the community as a whole.
There are good examples of partnerships between
sports clubs, Local Authorities and Governing Bodies, but too
few to make an impact. Harnessing the expertise, good will and
financial support of these agencies could make a major impact
and give all the youngsters interested in sport a fair chance
to succeed, not solely dependent on whether you happen to live
in a privileged area. National and Local Government have a major
role in ensuring that this happens more widely.
While arguing the case for local swimming clubs
I am sure that educational leaders will state a similar argument
for the enhancement of sports involvement at Primary School level
which would also have a major impact on raising standards in sport.
I believe that local community clubs will always
have a major role in sport and I hope that your deliberations
can not only recognise this but also take some action to improve
their status and provide them with more support.
28 November 2001