06 April 2017
Swimming Australia has launched a new scholarship program based at the AIS in Canberra to help talented pathway athletes progress to the elite senior ranks and to prepare them for careers in and out of the pool.
Four swimmers have been selected to train in the inaugural year of the ‘National Training Centre Transition Program’, headed by acclaimed coach Tracey Menzies.
After a trial of emerging swimmers from around the country, Swimming Australia awarded two-year residential scholarships to Peter Mills (Brisbane Grammar, Queensland), Acacia Wildin-Snedden (St Peters Western, Queensland) and Caiden Gill (Traralgon, Victoria). Rebecca Cross, 17, of Ginninderra Swim Club in the ACT, joins the squad on a training scholarship.
Menzies, who coached multiple Olympic-gold medallist Ian Thorpe, said the aim of the NTC Transition Program was to accelerate the swimming development of emerging athletes and to prepare them for long-term, high performance swimming careers.
Personal development will also be a key focus of the NTC Transition Program. The program will target athletes aged 18 to 22 and scholarship holders are required to enrol in study or take up employment.
“More than teaching them how to be an elite athlete, we want a program that takes a holistic approach to development,” Menzies said. “The ultimate goal is that every individual completes this program and becomes not only a better athlete, but a well-rounded person.”
AIS Director Matt Favier said the Institute was proud to host the Transition Program. .
“This approach was identified by Swimming Australia as being an important element of their high performance strategy,” Favier said. “Tracey Menzies is an incredibly experienced coach who knows how to maximise the AIS facilities and I’m confident this group of talented, young athletes will have every opportunity to learn, grow and improve.”
There is potential to increase the number of scholarship holders as the program develops. “We want this program to reach far beyond the four athletes we’ve selected in this inaugural year,” Menzies said. “We want a strong interaction with regional and community clubs across Australia. That could involve inviting promising athletes or coaches to join us for specific training periods, or having established national squad athletes coming into camp here at the AIS.”