European Swimmers congregate at hpc

Posted on February 23, 2009

Stockport Swimming in particular have become regular visitors to the world class training facilities, not having missed a year of training here since 2002. “Well its perfect isn’t it?” says Sean Kelly, head coach of the 10 swimmers from the Stockport Swimming Club, close to Manchester. “The weather is great. It is at altitude, we’ve made good friends here with the staff that really does go out of their way to provide us with top class service. What more can you ask for?”

In fact Sean has found it so welcoming here that he has made friends not only with staff, but also a family in Mamelodi. “I do not miss out on visiting them every time we come here. They throw a great party. They have also taken us to soccer matches. It’s a blast.”

Party aside though, the club is all business. “We’ve a combination of sprinters, middle distance and long distance swimmers. And we get study the best starter in the world up close and personal. We have material on Roland Schoeman from stroke rate to reaction times. He has the best start in the World so we watch him very closely when we are here and he is also training here at the hpc.”

Sean need not be so modest. His squad of 10 consists of Commonwealth Champions, World Champions and Olympic Medalists. Kerryn Payne picked up the Silver Medal in Beijing in the 10km open water swim, Cassey Patton the Bronze. Incidentally Kerryn lived in Johannesburg until 13 before heading off for the UK. James Goddard was 2002 Commonwealth Games 200m backstroke Gold Medalist; David Curry is a double World Champion from Melbourne in the 400m Individual and 400m Freestyle. In addition they bring their very own sports scientist. Scott Gardiner was the man behind the success of the British Track Cycling Team at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Now he has been seconded to Stockport Swimming Club.

“We are here to prepare for the UK trials in Sheffield which are our qualifiers for the World Championships which happen in Rome this year in July,” says Sean. The group of 10 swimmers and 4 support staff traditionally spend 3 weeks training here. But it is more than just coming here to swim at altitude and perfect weather. ”We make full use of the fantastic scientific support that is available here; the gym, the pools, physiotherapists. If we need a doctor then he’s right on our doorstep. What’s more, the doctor knows and understands sport and what is legal and what not. So there is no risk of taking something that may come back to bite us. Its perfect for us.”

For 7 years now the Stockport Swimming Club has been coming to the hpc, and if the words of Sean Kelly were not proof enough of the customer satisfaction they have and get, then the words of Sean Kelly should convince anyone that the hpc is the perfect venue for world class sports preparation.


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