NSW Olympic hopefuls attend Combined Hub Camp on Far North Coast

19 November 2020
Bronte Campbell and Laura Wilson at Combined Hub Camp in Ballina

NSW’s Olympic hopefuls attended a Combined Hub Camp over two weeks on the Far North Coast, ahead of National Virtual Short Course.  This is the first time NSW’s most elite swimmers and coaches have been able to train and learn together since the beginning of the pandemic.

Swimming NSW's Performance Hubs

Swimming NSW Performance Hubs help talented athletes from across NSW develop to the highest levels of the sport. Support services that are required daily for high performance swimmers and coaches are centralised at our Hub locations.

There are three Performance Hubs in NSW/ACT, led by internationally renowned swim coaches:

  • ACT AIS Hub (Head Coach Shannon Rollason)

  • NSW Olympic Park Hub (Head Coach Adam Kable)

  • Northern Metro Hub (Head Coach Simon Cusack)

The Hubs’ programs are supported by State Technical Director Ron McKeon, who ensures there is cohesion between NSW’s programs and Swimming Australia’s Olympic Pathway.

Our progressive Hub setup also allows great flexibility for athletes and coaches from across NSW and the ACT. “We can have athletes come into a Hub scenario and train with the Hub for a period of time but then go back out to their home program,” says State Technical Director, Ron McKeon. “The Hub itself is not a club: it’s a combining of talent no matter where you come from in NSW, and you can still go back to your home coach and your home club.”

An early adopter, Swimming NSW is pioneering the Hub model which will soon be rolled out across Australia. Swimming NSW’s strong relationship with the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) has been key in enabling this implementation.

The Combined Hub Camp

The two-week Combined Hub Camp took place on the Far North Coast of NSW. Swimmers, Coaches and support personnel were graciously taken care of by the staff at Alstonville Aquatic Centre and Ballina Memorial Pool. The outdoor pool setting in pristine Lennox Head was a welcome change for everyone.

Putting together a large-scale, COVID-safe camp was no small feat. “This camp has evolved over a number of months and we’ve had to pivot a number of times and make changes because of COVID, so that’s really also proven what can be done. It’s just being malleable and evolving and pivoting where you need to,” says McKeon.

Performance Hub swimmers and Olympic hopefuls Abbey Webb, Jess Hansen, Cate and Bronte Campbell, Ellie Cole, Matt Wilson and Brad Woodward were joined by the Hub Head Coaches - some of the best coaching minds in Australia. Swimmers and coaches also benefitted from the knowledge of NSWIS’ experts in strength and conditioning, biomechanics, and physiology.

Week one of the camp focused on the Flippers Enhancement Program. Highly talented up and coming Flippers Program swimmers Angus McDonald, Sydney Brown, Charli Brown, Kai Van Kool and Will Yang were selected to attend the camp and benefit from the complete Hub experience.

Camp coaches
Coaches L to R: Ron McKeon, James Greathead, Adam Kable, Justin Rothwell, Simon Cusack, Shannon Rollason

Club Head Coaches Justin Rothwell (Manly SC) and James Greathead (Wests Illawarra Aquatic SC) had an opportunity to share and develop their skills as well. Speaking with Ron McKeon, it becomes very clear how important camps like this are to secure NSW’s legacy through the passage of knowledge and experience: “when you’ve got that sort of experience standing on pool deck and interacting with aspiring coaches, they inspire the next generation. It is about coaching coaches, it is about providing that collaboration in real-time, and we trust that the relationships those coaches build with one another will continue to develop and from those relationships come great things for the sport”.

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