The last few months have seen a big change in the age profile of the senior squads, with an influx of swimmers moving up from the junior section and a number of club stalwarts moving on to higher education or calling time on their swimming careers.
“It’s a lot younger group than we had last year and we’re going to be more focused on the age group meets,” explains Jess. “But the exciting thing is that it’s very, very competitive at the moment, especially among the girls, and the boys are starting to come through as well, so hopefully they’ll challenge them a little bit more.
“We’re trying make sure that people recognise us for our skills and there’s definitely going to be a lot more diving – that’s something we definitely didn’t do enough of at the start of last season.
We’ll be getting the blocks out as much as possible and really using them – and we’re fortunate to have access to a really good set at the Portal,
so we’ll be making the most of that.”
“I’m really excited about this year,” says Junior Coach, Alan Dickson. “Last season gave us a tremendous stepping stone.
“It was really good to see 23 swimmers back in the water and raring to go for my first session after the holidays this week.”
“Over the summer I’ve been working on a plan that gives me the best chance of making sure all the swimmers have got the skills they need to take themselves forward and feed into the senior squad.
“My big message for the kids is to focus on their skills and not think about the times or the outcomes.
“As a coach I’m looking for them to be working hard in training and see them applying what they’ve learned in a race situation.
“We’ve had a fantastic last couple of years, getting back to where I’ve always felt we should be with the number of swimmers being selected for DRP, and I want to make sure this time next year we’ve got 8 or 9 swimmers qualifying for the programme.”