The two million pounds awarded to the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain (ASFGB) will buy one gold medal in Sydney and at least two in 2004. This is what David Sparkes, secretary of the ASFGB, expects National Lottery funding will do for swimming in Britain.
The money, according to Sparkes is "in line with what we expected." A British pound is worth U.S. $1.64 or Cdn. $2.25.
Some 670,000 pounds sterling will go directly to the competitors. Initially, over 400 competitors were nominated. This, the governing body was told, was too many. The number then was whittled down to 152.
The categories for funding were divided into three: elite, international, and national.
In the elite category, individuals were to have a top 10 world ranking and potential for a World or Olympic medal. Relays were to have a world ranking in the top four and World and Olympic medal potential.
To be eligible for the international category, a competitor should have a top-20 world ranking and medal potential at the European Championships or Commonwealth Games. Relay teams should be world ranked in the top eight or have medal potential at the Europeans or Commonwealth Games.
The national category is for individuals or relay teams on a national squad. In the elite category, the governing body submitted 19 names, (11 men and 8 women), at senior level and 10 juniors (6 girls and 4 boys). In the international category 6 seniors (8 men and 8 women) and 29 juniors (9 boys and 20 girls) were named.
In the national category 36 were named (16 men and 20 women). In the age category, 42 were named (8 boys and 7 girls in the junior category, and 15 boys and 12 girls in the next age group down).
Of those names submitted, only 74 were successful, and at the time of going to press final names and funding amounts were not known. The figures floated around are 15,000-20,000 pounds for gold-and silver-medal prospects, with the average support around 4,500 pounds.
Athlete funding will include training costs, domestic and overseas coaching, travel to domestic and international competitions, education, sport science, sport medicine, accommodation, lifestyle, personal travel, sports equipment, clothing (both training and formal), specialized equipment, leisure, pension, and insurance.
The governing body will monitor on a regular basis to ensure that the competitor is still training and part of the national program. The athletes lists will be updated again in September and reviewed every six months.
The governing body has been promised 1.3 million pounds and is likely to receive it within the next month, as interim one year funding. Within the next six months the sport has to submit a detailed document of its plans for the next seven years. Once the plan is approved, funding will be received for the period.
Funds not allocated to athletes will be used to help establish five high-performance centres, one of which will "definitely be Bath, while the others currently being considered are Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Coventry," added Sparkes.
It is hoped that the other four will be up and running within the year. The monies will cover the costs of a chief coach and assistant coach, access to the pool, gym, sports science, sports medicine, physiotherapy, and equipment.
These centres will also log onto the British Olympic Association's lifestyle training program--ranging from mental preparation for excellence, through career guidance and assessment, to retirement counselling.
The rest of the monies will be spent on the High Performance team and its administrative support. The majority of the funds will be spent on competition and training programs for the competitors and coaches.
Coach education is high on the agenda, as is sport science and sports medicine. Sparkes admits, in this area, he may have to "go overseas."
As part of the British team's preparation for this year's European Championships in Sevilla, which the lottery money covers, 17 members of the squad already selected competed in Barcelona and Canet at the end of May.
Immediately after the two meets they will travel to Font Romeau in the Pyrenees for high altitude training from June 2 to 10 and will be joined by five additional swimmers who stayed in Britain for the Super Final of the Speedo British Grand Prix.
Although the high altitude camp is only for a short period of time, Deryk Snelling, the Director of Performance, believes it will be a good learning opportunity for swimmers and coaches, and especially beneficial for the sports science team.
Next stop for the bulk of the team will be Glasgow and the Scottish Nationals.
In July the team will compete in the National Championships in Crystal Palace, where additional spots to the European Championship team may be filled. Departure to Granada in Spain will be August 11 for acclimatization, before moving to Sevilla a few days prior to the start of the swimming events on the 19 th.
Other activities during the summer will include a Florida training camp for 10 up-and-coming distance swimmers. Ten swimmers and three staff will compete in the Canadian Nationals, and another squad for men 19/20 and women 17/18 will be selected for the Five Nations Youth International in early August.