In an attempt, to try to highlight the selection process for swimmers to the various squads within the Scottish Swimming Programme I have extracted what I think are the main areas of the National Aquatics Programme, Selection Policy, 2023/24.
Because of the current interest in Open Water Swimming, I have also included that criterion.
First, congratulations to the four Fins’ swimmers who have been selected for the National Squads 2023/24, and they are:
Erin Taylor – National Senior Academy
Adam Selbie – National Junior Academy
Irys Blair – National Junior Academy
Lilian Blair – National Junior Academy
5.1 Decision Making
A selection group comprising members of the Aquatic High-Performance Group (AHPG) will be responsible for selections of athletes to the National Senior and National Junior Teams. The Scottish Swimming Performance Team will be responsible for all Academy selections.
The selection group will normally comprise:
- Chair of the AHPG
- At least one independent member of the AHPG
- Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics
- Scottish Swimming, Performance Programme Manager
- sportscotland High Performance Manager
The group will be supported in the selection process by:
- Scottish Swimming National Swimming Coach
- Scottish Swimming Disability Performance Development Manager
- Scottish Swimming National Diving Coach
Swimming Specific Standards
The swimming selection policy uses a three-tiered (Gold, Silver, Bronze tiers) system of times for each event and each single year age band. Swimmers’ performances then align to specific event, age, and gender related criteria which in turn determine the following outline squad structure and pathway:
The Junior Academy is planned and selected nationally but organised and delivered regionally through the help of the four District Associations. District convenors ensure suitable venues are booked and team managers in place for the three core delivery training and education days. Scottish Swimming appoints experienced lead and assistant coaches for approximately 25-30 swimmers at each squad. A key element of Junior Academy is coach development and therefore all clubs who place swimmers on the programme are required to send at least one coach to help at each training day. In fact, the door is open to all clubs to send coaches along to the three training days, as it is vital the important technical, training, and educational messages are spread as wide as possible across the network. The programme also includes a blended online educational session covering important topics such as nutrition, health, and psychology in advance of each core day. Online induction sessions for staff and swimmers, plus a briefing session for parents ensure the aims and intentions of the programme are communicated effectively.
Youth & Senior Academies
This section is split into Youth (13-17 years) and Senior (17+ years) programmes and is often populated with leading age group swimmers and talented athletes who are progressing towards the higher echelons of the sport, sometimes on a later development trajectory. Youth Academy swimmers are split across four groups and attend four focused training days at the Scottish Swimming Hub venues along with online education sessions and talks from specialist practitioners. Swimmers aged 15 or 16 achieving the stated Bronze level criteria will be placed in the Youth Academy programme. Expert coaches are appointed to lead each venue and asked to provide an indepth training experience. Those achieving Senior Academy selection have a more bespoke approach appropriate to their situation and may access additional training, education or competition opportunities based on their needs.
To be successful at international level, swimmers must be able to achieve their best performance in a single swim on a given day. The importance of this ability is recognised by identifying precise selection opportunities for Scottish National squads. However, entry to the Junior Academy pathway is more inclusive with all accredited meets eligible.
Junior Academy 11-14
Any accredited meet (Short Course or Long Course) Selection Period: 1st September 2022 – 16th July 2023
Youth Academy 13-16 Girls 14-17 Boys
District Events, Scottish National Events, and all accredited Long Course Meets. Additional Short Course meets may be used with the prior agreement of the Director of Aquatics & National Coach. Selection Period: 1st September 2022 – 28th July 2023
Senior Academy 17+ Girls 17+ Boys Long Course ONLY.
Scottish & British National Championships, GISM & EISM. (Not sure what the last two are) Other meets (domestic & international) may be agreed in advance with Director of Aquatics & National Coach. Selection Period: 1st January 2023 – 28th July 2023
Number of Standards Required
It is widely recognised in scrutinising the development of successful senior swimmers, that effective long-term swimmer progress includes a background of multi-event racing and aerobic training in their formative years. To encourage club coaches to adopt this methodology with developing swimmers, this principle is built into the selection policy in a variety of ways, e.g., for Junior Academy selection, swimmers are required to achieve the consideration times in two or more 200 metre (or longer) events.
There are set times for swimmers to achieve, both long course and short course, where applicable, starting at age 11 and going up in single years to 19 for girls and 20 for boys. Thereafter it is 20+ and 21+ respectively.
The times get harder each year until the top sing year is reached.
Marathon Swimming Selection Criteria
Swimmers achieving the following criteria will be considered for selection to the Scottish Swimming National Senior or Junior Team. The policy will be operated as part of the Scottish Swimming National Squad Selection Policy and Selection Times. To be considered, swimmers must achieve pool and open water based criteria:
Senior Team (Men 18+, Women 17+ years only) – Age as at 31st December 2023 Open Water
Achieve one of the following:
- 1st or 2nd place in an accredited domestic or overseas National Open Water Championship, LEN or FINA event over a distance of at least 5km (competition agreed in advance with the Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics and/or National Coach).
- 1st or 2nd place at the Swim England Open Water Age Groups.
- Achieved 1st place among Scottish competitors in the Scottish Open Water 5km or 10km Championship and performed with distinction whilst representing GB (agreed between Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics and/or National Coach and British Swimming Distance Lead).
Junior Team (Boys 15-18 years, Girls 14-17 years only) – Age as at 31st December 2023
Achieve one of the following:
- 1st place among Scottish competitors in the Scottish Open Water 5km or 10km Championship.
- 1st or 2nd place at the Swim England Open Water Age Groups.
- 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in an accredited overseas National Open Water Championship over distance of at least 5km (competition agreed in advance with the Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics and/or National Coach).
- 1st place in an accredited overseas sub-national event (French Cup or similar) over a distance of at least 5km (competition agreed in advance with the Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics and/or National Coach).
Pool (long course performances only)
|Event||1500m Freestyle||800m Freestyle||1500m Freestyle||800m Freestyle|
Standards are to be achieved as per the Senior/Junior meet achievement opportunities identified within the main selection document.
- The process will be operated jointly by the Scottish Swimming Performance Team, and the Scottish Swimming Open Water Committee.
- Scottish Swimming Open Water Committee to review the selections following the qualifying events held during the summer.
- Names of identified swimmers to be forwarded to Scottish Swimming by September 30th 2023.
- Swimmers considered by Scottish Swimming Director of Aquatics and National Coach.
- Formal nominations made by Scottish Swimming to the Aquatics High Performance Group (AHPG).
- AHPG review and confirm all selections.
- Confirmed swimmers notified of their selection through Scottish Swimming Performance Team and, in conjunction with the sportscotland institute of sport, included within the established support process for athletes and coaches.
To be considered for invitation to the Scottish National Aquatics Programme, athletes must meet the set criteria. Although the criteria should be seen as a pre-requisite for consideration it does not necessarily guarantee invitation. The Aquatics High Performance Group reserve the right to include a swimmer within the Scottish National Aquatics Programme in the case of exceptional circumstances – e.g. acquired disability, injury, illness. In these instances, the Disability Performance Development Manager will discuss the swimmer’s situation with the swimmer’s coach prior to any final decision. Any appeals against selection in relation to this selection policy must be made in accordance with the Scottish Swimming appeals procedure outlined in Appendix 4. National Squad Selection Athletes selected will be supported through one of the National Squad Programmes appropriate to their age and stage as advised by the Scottish Swimming Disability Performance Development Manager and agreed by the selection group. Swimmers may be considered for selection to the Scottish National Aquatics Programme through the discretionary nomination process outlined within section 5.3 of the main National Aquatics Programme Selection Document.
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