High Wycombe home to new landmark swimming and education partnership


Date: 12th Jul 2018

High Wycombe has been selected to become a national swimming Performance Centre by Swim England, the national governing body for swimming.

Working in partnership with Wycombe District Swimming Club (WDSC) and Buckinghamshire New University, the Swim England Performance Centre will give talented young swimmers the opportunity to stay in the sport while continuing their education.

Wycombe District Swimming Club is based at Wycombe Leisure Centre in Marlow Hill, High Wycombe, and students will be able to pursue a range of degrees at the University, in Queen Alexandra Road, High Wycombe.

Swim England Performance CentrePicture caption: (L-R) Sam Sansome ofWycombe District Swimming Club; Fiona McCormack and Paul Morgan of Bucks New University; Georgia Nosal of Bucks New University’s Students’ Union; and Kevin Brooks, of Wycombe District Swimming Club.

Dr Paul Morgan, Head of School for Human and Social Sciences at Bucks New University, said: “We are extremely pleased to be one of only five universities in the country selected by Swim England.

“Talented swimmers can now have the best of both worlds by receiving high standard training from WDSC and our support to help them reach their academic potential. We look forward to helping them to succeed both in and out of the pool.”

Grant Robins, Head of the Swim England Swimming Talent Programme, said: “We are delighted to be working with Wycombe District Swimming Club and Buckinghamshire New University on this project.

“The Performance Centre will help to expand and extend the Swim England Talent Programme by providing opportunities for swimmers to continue their training alongside their studies.

“The close link between the Club and University will help swimmers to make the move from the junior to senior swimming ranks, and also make the transition to the British Swimming World Class programme more accessible.”

Swim England Performance Centre
Picture caption: (L-R) Paul Morgan, Kevin Brooks, Georgia Nosal, Fiona McCormack, and Sam Sansome.

Sam Sansome, Chairman of WDSC, said: “This is a huge step for the club and district and cements the partnership between the club and Bucks New University and our strong relationship with Wycombe District Council and Places for People.

“The swimming map of England is changing and we’re proud to be firmly on it and can’t wait to receive our first students.”

Five centres have been set up across the country, with Swim England Talent providing support with coaching and sports science services.

Swim England believes that creating a new network of centres means swimmers will be able to move from the junior to senior ranks while continuing their studies.

It will also help to make the transition to the British Swimming World Class programme more accessible, leading to more English athletes reaching the highest levels of the sport.

WDSC is a community club with more than 600 members covering all aspects of participation and competition. The club already coaches students on the University’s swimming teams.

Kevin Brooks, Head Coach of WDSC, said: “University-age swimmers from the local area, and nationally, can now reach the highest levels in their sport and go on to higher education in the supportive environment provided by Bucks New University.

“Performance drives participation, creates role models and promotes aspiration.”

The development has been welcomed by sports figures at Bucks New University and current and former students who have been supported in other ways to excel in sport.

Catherine Lymer, Student Activities Manager at Bucks New University’s Students’ Union, said: “This is excellent news, with the link strengthening and improving our own swimming club and hopefully leading to success for our team too.”

Paralympian adaptive rower Naomi Riches MBE,who lives in Marlow and graduated from Bucks New University before winning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and then gold at London 2012, said: “I learnt so much at Bucks New University about how to balance my training commitments with studying for my degree. Naomi Riches

“The support I received from my tutors and fellow students whilst I was at Bucks, and during the early years of my rowing career, is part of what set me on the road to success.

“I hope the new partnership will help to bring more medals home for Great Britain and degrees to help athletes succeed in their future careers.”

Ellie Wilson, studying BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, plays football for Bristol City Women in the FA Women's Super League and represented Great Britain in the World University Summer Games (WUGS) in Chinese Taipei last year.

She praised the support she had received while studying to pursue her football career and welcomed the developments with Swim England.

Ellie said: “Being able to study alongside playing football was what attracted me to the university initially, and over my three years at Bucks it worked out perfectly.

“Prioritising my time was key if I was going to be able to train full time and study full time but thankfully my university lectures and my football coaches were very understanding towards my commitments which has helped make it possible for me to do both.

“I was able to catch up on any lectures that I may have missed due to training, and likewise, I could balance my training around time where I had to attend university.

“I value my academic development as much as my playing career so I am very happy to be graduating from Bucks this year having had the opportunity to develop in both areas.”


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