I am really pleased to announce that on Saturday 18th July the club held interviews and appointed a new Coach who in addition to other duties, will be responsible for the Platinum part of AGD.Â A Coach called Emma Hughes was the successful applicant and I am sure we will all welcome her with open arms to our programme at the end of August.Â Emma is a Level 3 qualified coach who is very keen to become part of the coaching team here at Sunderland and help drive the club to further success.Â She is currently in charge of the National Curriculum swimming with Gateshead Council and is a coach at Darlington ASC.Â She also volunteers on a weekly basis on the Beacon programme here at Sunderland, supporting swimmers at the top end of the region.Â Emma has had much success coaching swimmers to both Regional and National level, and has worked to produced athletes for the GB para programme.Â Please make her feel welcome when she steps on poolside ready for the new season!
It has been a very productive, albeit tough year for the club, with both Danny and Paul stretched to the limit and the hours they have been putting in going way above and beyond their remit.Â Likewise, Sue, Liam and all the volunteer coaches have done an amazing job across their aspects of the programme.Â I would like to personally thank all coaches, volunteers, swimmers and parents for their hard work and dedication this season and the part played in moving the club forward despite the challenging circumstances. Well done to all.
Last week saw an email go out from Paul referring to a change in squad structure at AGD level and was followed by a letter that indicated squad moves.Â I would like to clarify the situation regarding AGD so that all swimmers and club members understand the structural change that is taking place.
During the past season we have grown our junior programme with the introduction of a Bronze Squad, and will be adding to the number of Bronze squads from September.Â As always, the coaches have moved swimmers when ready out of the Junior Gold squad into AGD.Â This season however, Paul has been the only coach for AGD, but the club had originally planned for two coaches in order to grow the squad numbers.
The challenge of having swimmers with a wide range of skills and focus has been one that Paul has managed incredibly well, but having only one coach has restricted the growth in AGD that we would have liked.Â From September there will in effect be two AGD squads and two coaches, one called Platinum, led by Emma and the other holding the traditional AGD name, led by Paul.Â Both squads however will have greater expectations, rigour and skill development than in the junior programme and offer every swimmer the chance to demonstrate their commitment to the sport.
Whether in the Platinum group or the AGD group, swimmers will fall under the AGD umbrella, placed in the sub group depending on a range of areas including the necessity to complete morning sessions and their ability to commit to, and handle the more strenuous training loads required.Â In reality, we are creating a more streamlined pathway that will make transition into AGD a little easier, responding to the needs of the individual, while preparing swimmers more than ever for the move to Performance.
Any changes or announcements to the Performance structure will be made by Danny after he returns with the swimmers from British Championships.Â There will also be further club announcements by myself in relation to events, improvements and the overall club structure during the next two weeks.
Early September, all members will be given additional information about the expectations for each squad, and it will be much clearer what coaches will expect of swimmers, and what swimmers can expect when being coached in each squad.
In the meantime, if anyone has any questions about where their young athlete sits in the programme they should make an appointment with their coach or Danny.Â I will also be happy to speak to anyone who has questions about the changes, the programme in general and the direction the club is going.Â To that end, I will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings this week and will base myself around the club shop.
Please keep in mind that no decision is ever taken lightly, and decisions about coach allocation, structure or even swimmer placement are made in order to ensure each individual is given the best possible path to success.
Chairperson City of Sunderland ASC (CIC)