British Swimming has shortlisted six city 50m facilities in line to form part of a nationwide network of Intensive Training Centres (ITC) as recommended by Bill Sweetenham long before he left his post as Performance Director to Britain in 2007.
Ten bids were whittled down to six candidates. They are: Stirling, Liverpool, Loughborough, Swansea, Bath and Stockport. It would be hard to see why Loughborough and Stockport would not make the grade given they account for the bulk of Britain's success in recent times. Swansea and Stirling are already centres of excellence, while Liverpool boasts the newest 50m facility and Bath, which used to be the national training centre before the rise of Loughborough, is looking to build its position once more.
British Swimming National Performance Director Michael Scott, who took over from fellow Australian Sweetenham, said: 'Creating a world-class daily training environment is an exciting part of our overall strategy towards realising our long-term performance goals. These centres will provide a one stop shop service point for swimmers and coaches - the aim is to provide everything they need in their development from the right amount of 50m pool time to sports science support. We are evaluating the programme management of the centres too so that we can ensure the environment is conducive to high performance and that we continue to improve our services offered.'
The centres are aimed at providing pathways to progress for athletes and coaches. British Swimming has begun to interview for the Head Coach roles at each of the Centres. The appointments are unlikely to be announced before Beijing.