ONE of Scotland’s top swimming coaches is to head up a new, high-performance swimming team in Aberdeen, aiming to produce medal-winning swimmers.
Patrick Miley, father and coach of Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Hannah Miley, will train elite swimmers for the newly-formed University of Aberdeen Performance Swimming programme (UOAPS).
UOAPS is a new partnership between the Aberdeen Sports Village, Aberdeen City Council, Scottish Swimming, the University of Aberdeen and seven of the city’s swimming clubs.
The programme has been established to grow on the rich crop of swimming talent to have emerged from the north-east in recent years, including Hannah Miley, David Carry and Robbie Renwick.
Swimmers across the city will try out to join Team Aberdeen, training with Mr Miley and his team at the Aberdeen Sports Village Aquatics Centre, in order to form the elite UOAPS competition squad.
Mr Miley said: “With the financial investment and commitment from our partners we have an incredibly exciting opportunity to develop a strong performance pathway for swimming in the north-east.
“Our aim is to build a world-class performance swimming programme, and I am confident we have the backing, the will and the talent to succeed.”
University of Aberdeen principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: “As an university, we are committed to helping our student athletes reach their full potential, both academically and in their chosen sport.
“The University of Aberdeen Performance Swimming programme is yet another example of how we are working alongside our partners to bring through the next generation of world-class athletes, right here in Aberdeen.”
Duncan Sinclair, chief executive of Aberdeen Sports Village, said: “In the past, our home-grown swimming talent had to move to the Central Belt or an English university to advance their swimming careers.
“However, the city now has an Olympic standard Aquatics Centre at Aberdeen Sports Village, and, with this new performance programme, Aberdeen offers a real alternative and opportunity to our local athletes.
“ASV is now classed as a Performance Centre by Scottish Swimming, in recognition of the excellent level of facilities and training we provide.
“Our aim is for Aberdeen to be seen as a world class destination for performance swimming, which will retain our best swimmers in the north-east, and attract athletes to study, live and compete here.”
Aberdeen City Council’s education and children’s services committee convener, Councillor John Wheeler, said: “By working in partnership, we created the state-of-the-art Aberdeen Sports Village including a world-class aquatics centre, with its 50m pool, to give local people the opportunity to participate in swimming and water sports, to maximise the social, educational and physical opportunities for everyone in the city.
“The launch of the University of Aberdeen Performance Swimming programme and the recruitment of Commonwealth Games coach Patrick Miley, highlight that, by working together, we are creating opportunities for local elite swimmers.
“Instead of having to travel great distances, or move away entirely to get access to the best facilities and coaching, they will be able to try out for a place on Team Aberdeen.
“By providing these opportunities we will be able to nurture future swimming sensations who will represent Aberdeen, the north-east, Scotland and the UK.”
Ally Whike, performance director of Scottish Swimming, said: “This programme has been established through the hard work of the University of Aberdeen, local clubs, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Sport and Leisure, highlighting the importance that a strong partnership approach brings to delivering high performing environments.
“Scottish Swimming looks forward to the continued development of the programme, and its positive impact in taking swimmers through the pathway and onwards to international level.”
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