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Swimming NSW looks for Southern Performance Centre to drive new generation of athletes

Swimming NSW looks for Southern Performance Centre to drive new generation of athletes
November 15, 2023

Aiming to nurture and elevate the performance of talented athletes and develop coaches from across NSW, Sutherland Shire Council and the NSW Institute of Sport have joined forces with Swimming NSW to launch a high-performance centre at the Sutherland Leisure Centre (SLC).

The Southern Performance Centre - the fourth Swimming NSW Performance Centre - is a sister program to the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC), Newcastle University Sport in Newcastle and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Blacktown as well as the AIS Performance Centre in Canberra, the new Centre will provide a high-performance environment led by nationally and internationally recognised coaches, supported by NSW Institute of Sport performance team members.

Its location at the SLC follows the Sutherland Shire having long been a swimming stronghold - particularly in the 1990s and 2000s - headlined by the likes of nine-time Olympic medal winning legend Ian Thorpe and fellow Olympians Kirsten Thomson and Craig Stevens and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Simon Cowley and Jason Cram.

All five swam with the powerful SLC Aquadot - a club based at the Sutherland Leisure Centre and led by acclaimed international coaches Doug Frost, Tracey Menzies and Greg Hodge.

Advising that the establishment of the Performance Centre would come as a major boon for the sport within the Sutherland Shire, providing local swimmers with enhanced access to elite level coaching and training opportunities, Sutherland Shire Mayor, Carmelo Pesce advised “the Sutherland Shire has produced some of Australia’s greatest swimmers, including legendary Australian Olympian Ian Thorpe, and the establishment of the Southern Performance Centre will ensure athletes and coaches from throughout our region and beyond have more opportunity than ever before to chase their dreams.”

Management of the Centre will be lead by Swimming NSW President Chris Fydler – a triple Olympian and Sydney 2000 gold medallist; alongside Swimming NSW Chief Executive Kirsten Thomson, a Sydney 2000 silver medallist in the pool; Thorpe, now a Swimming NSW board member and the newly appointed Swimming NSW Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, James Hickman, a triple Olympic British swimmer.

The two new Performance coaching roles - Head Coach and Assistant Coach - will be advertised nationally and internationally to find the best possible coaches to place swimmers on the 2028 Los Angeles and 2032 Brisbane Olympic teams.

The existing SLC Aquadot Swimming Club program will underpin the Performance Program with the two groups working closely together.

Welcoming the opening of the Centre and its potential to propel NSW athletes to new heights, Fydler, who knows significance of that task and that No 1 mantle in Australia has long been proudly held by archrivals Queensland, stated “funded by our partners, the Centre is poised to again become a beacon of excellence in this area of our State, aligning with Swimming NSW’s vision to be the number one State in performance and participation."

Swimming NSW Performance Program
Swimming NSW Performance Centres provide high performance environments led by nationally and internationally recognised coaches, supported by NSW Institute of Sport performance team members. Sutherland Leisure Centre, and the commitment of the Sutherland Shire Council to ensure that the centre delivers a high-performance environment, provide an ideal location for the Performance Centre.

Along with athletes training within Sutherland Leisure Centre squad programs, targeted NSW swimmers and their coaches will be invited to attend sessions at the Performance Centre and Swimming NSW Pathway Squads will benefit from camps and developmental opportunities.

Images: Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce with the Swimming NSW and NSWIS Performance Team and the Aquadot Swim Team at the Sutherland Leisure Centre (top), Mayor Persce with NSWIS High Performance Manager Andy Burns and Swimming NSW President Chris Fydler (middle) and Mayor Pesce; SLC Aquadot Co-President - Tim Lee; Swimming NSW's Chris Fydler, NSWIS' Andy Burns and SLC Aquadot Co-President - Amanda Quiggin with members of the Aquadot Swim Team (below). Credit: Swimming NSW.

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