4th September 2009
Swimming Season 2009/10
I hope you have all had a great summer and are now looking forward to the start of a new swimming season.
Last 12 Months
As you all know, Atlantis is celebrating in 2009 its 30th Anniversary. And the last 12 months have certainly been busy and successful ones for your Club.
Atlantis has enjoyed its most successful season ever in this its anniversary year, rounded off by another memorable BBQ kindly hosted once again by Trish and Ian Matlock. Atlantis has:
- Achieved its highest-ever position in the top division of the Sussex Swimming League, finishing third behind Crawley and Mid-Sussex Marlins;
- Consolidated its place in the South Region’s Division One of the National Swimming League;
- Secured its largest-ever medal haul at the County Swimming Championships in February at K2 with a massive 57 medals in all - 19 golds, 18 silvers, 12 bronzes and 8 relay medals;
- A silver and three bronzes at the Sussex Relay Championships;
- More swimmers than ever before achieving base and automatic qualifying times for this summer’s South East ASA Regional Championships – 18 swimmers in all. Atlantis won 8 medals at this year’s Regionals, including 4 golds for Cam Lambourne in the 13 year-old age group and 3 slivers and a bronze for Ella Windle in the 10 year-old competition;
- 4 swimmers – Jonny Blyth, Katy Harris, Howard Blyth and Cameron Lambourne - qualified to compete against the very best in the country at the UK national swimming championships in Sheffield at the end of July, with Cam securing a silver after a fantastic swim in the 100m freestyle.
The progress of the Club is evident in the fact that 7 of our swimmers have been selected for the full County training squad, and a further two for the County Development Squad. And hot off the press is the news that Cam has been invited to join the ASA England Talent Development Programme for 2009/10. So congratulations to all our swimmers and to Bill and his team of coaches, who are behind their success.
The Coming Season
We have a lot to live up to over the coming 12 months and we are looking to build further on our recent progress.
There is a busy programme of events coming up over the next month: the Sussex Relay Championships; the Ken Deeley Sprint Meet in Brighton; the Division 12 Schools Championships in Southampton; the Cranleigh Open Meet and the first of the National Swimming League galas. Looking further ahead we will be holding our regular Club Championships in November and once again hosting a Christmas Cracker Open Meet in early December.
We will also be looking in a fun way to give our more inexperienced swimmers a taste of competition by building on the recent highly successful mini-gala held for the Penguin and Seal squads at the Pavilions, introducing more regular “race nights”.
Coaching and training
We are always looking at ways to improve the coaching and training programmes that Atlantis is able to offer. To this end we will be further developing our programme for 2009/10:
- Technique and stroke sessions: We plan to introduce 2 intensive technique clinics per year each for Bronze, Bronze Plus, Silver and Gold squads. This will involve use of video and “in the class-room” teaching to support the water-based coaching. The intention is to roll-out the first session for the Bronze squads this autumn and for the Gold and Silver squads early in the new year;
- Training Camps: The club has organised an overseas training camp in Italy in April 2010 for the senior squads. We are also committed to make available shorter weekend residential camps for Bronze, Silver and Gold squads. The first of these is likely to take place in January as part of the preparation for the Sussex County Championships in February and we are looking to hold a second in March for those who will not be attending the Italy Camp. It is likely that these weekend camps will take place in Portsmouth at the new Mountbatten Centre;
- Long Course Training: From this month we will be introducing regular 2-hour Sunday evening long-course training sessions at K2 for swimmers aiming to compete at regional and national level, where the competitions are all in 50m pools;
- Centre of Excellence tie-up: As part of the Amateur Swimming Association’s continuing efforts to develop the strength of British Swimming, it is looking to establish a network of centres of excellence that other swimming clubs can be linked to. This is to ensure that all of our swimmers are able to realise their full potential without having to move away from their home clubs. Atlantis is currently exploring a potential link-up with the new Beacon Centre to be run by Portsmouth Northsea SC at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth;
- Land Training: From this month, we will be launching a second land training group based at the Pavilions;
- Pool Time: We have introduced additional pool time at Billingshurst for Silver/Gold Squads on a Wednesday evening. This replaces the hour previously lost by these squads on a Monday evening due to the allocation of that training time for Bronze Squad. Hopefully the extra training at Billingshurst will indirectly free up the lanes at Steyning. Pool time is clearly a most precious commodity and we will keep this continually under review, with our intention being to gradually increase pool time where demand warrants it and where we have the coaching capacity available to run every session;
- Coach Development: The Club is continuing to support the development of our coaching team, and a number of our coaches are starting and completing courses. In the past 12 months Paul Blyth has qualified as an ASA/UKCC Level 2 Coach and is in the process of gaining an Advanced Coaching Offer from the ASA with a view to completing his Level 3 in the next 12-18 months. Hilding Kallman and Steve Barton are in the process of completing their Level 2 Coaching, and Andy Lobley has recently completed his Level 1 Coaching to add to his Level 1 Teaching, and is about to embark on his Level 2 Coaching. The coaches work extremely hard away from the Club to gain their qualifications and to aid the progress of the Club. We are always on the look-out for new coaches, so if any of you would like to get involved please let us know – it is a very rewarding way of becoming involved!
We are currently in the process of drawing up a new kit list, so watch this space for further information.
The Club hosts two main events during the year – the Christmas Disco and the Summer BBQ. I am delighted that Sue Reay – one of our parents - has agreed to be our events co-ordinator. Part of Sue’s “day job” is event organisation, so she is a pro and we are very lucky to have her on board! Sue will also be looking to see how we can develop the non-swimming side of Atlantis galas and Open Meets e.g. catering, raffles etc. In addition I hope that we can also develop the less formal social side of the club – so if you have ideas e.g. quiz nights etc - let us know!
I regard this as a vital part of what the Club does. It is vital to attracting new swimmers, to ensuring that current swimmers and parents know what’s going on and (as important) why; and to giving everyone an effective channel through which to make their views known. This is your Club and the more you feel involved and part of it, the better.
We are therefore looking to develop our communications in a number of areas:
· Website: we are currently re-designing and overhauling our website. We hope to complete the first phase of this by the end of September. This should bring our website alongside the best of the websites for clubs like ours, make it easier to navigate and access information and have more varied content – including by popular demand more pictures! However, we would like to go a step beyond, so as part of phase two we will be looking to include a club video and a members only area that is more interactive, and where swimmers can maintain their own profiles and communicate more easily with each other;
· News: we are seeking to build the Club’s relations with local media and to raise our profile. There has been some really good coverage of Atlantis recently in both the County Times and the Resident. We want to keep this going. So if you have good ideas for news stories, again let us know!
· Squad links: Under our Head Coach’s direction, we have been developing a system of each squad having a lead coach. John Eamer is the lead coach for Penguins and Seals; Paul Blyth for Bronze and Bronze Plus; and Bill Penny looks after Gold and Silver Squads in addition to his duties as Head Coach. To supplement this structure, we are introducing parent links for each of our squads. Should you have issues that you wish to raise with the Committee or with squad coaches, then this is something that in future the squad links should be able to facilitate. Information about who are the squad links and how to contact them, will be part of the information on the new website;
· Starter packs: We will be re-vamping the information that the Club provides to people who are thinking of joining the club and to new members and producing a new “Starter Pack”. I hope this will be available by the end of October.
Finally, I would like to thank Jacqui Betts for all the hard work she has put in as both a committee member and latterly as our Secretary. Jacqui has decided to step down from the Committee to concentrate on her day job! She and Mike Wood, my predecessor as chairman, have been towers of strength for the Club. They have handed over a strong platform on which we can build.
I am sorry this is such a long letter, but there is a lot happening! These are exciting times for Atlantis and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming 12 months. This is your Club and I want to make sure it is delivering the right, positive, experience that you want to see from a swimming club that is not only very competitive, but also fun, friendly and welcoming as well. To that end, if you would like to get involved then we would be delighted to have any help you can offer, whether it be skills as a maker of small budget videos, expertise in marketing, fundraising or making the most of websites or any thing else you can think of – we can certainly use your skills and experience.
I hope we can all look forward to another year of solid success and progress.