16 May 2024
Written by: Swimming NSW

The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) and Swimming NSW have launched a Towards 32 Female Athlete & Coach Initiative at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC). In May 2024, NSWIS invited 12 of the State’s most promising female athletes and their coaches to attend a two day camp at the SOPAC Performance Centre. These athletes and coaches were joined by six of the State’s talented emerging female coaches.

Led by NSWIS Head Coach, Adam Kable, the Towards 32 initiative is designed to support the development of talented female athletes and coaches within NSW on the journey towards a home Games in 2032. The two day camp, was the first of a series of initiatives planned to support female swimmers and coaches as NSW drives towards its ambitious vision to return to the top of the podium for performance.

The camp consisted of a series of training sessions at SOPAC and included an athlete dinner hosted by 2012 and 2016 Olympic swimmer Jessica Ashwood. The athletes in attendance enjoyed the opportunity to train together as a group and to speak with Ashwood about her experiences as an Olympic athlete.

NSW freestyle sprinter Olivia Wunsch enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with the other female athletes and Ashwood, “It was a great opportunity to meet Jess and hear about her experiences both as a female athlete and an Australian Dolphin originally from NSW. We were all inspired by her stories of overcoming adversity throughout her swimming journey.”

The female coaches attended a dinner with world class coaches Alan McConnell and Chava Sobrino. McConnell, currently the NSWIS Coach Development Lead and formerly the Director of Coaching at the GWS Giants facilitated a conversation between the coaches and Chava Sobrino. The opportunity for these emerging coaches to meet with Sobrino, coach of Olympic gold medallist diver Matthew Mitcham and four time Olympian Melissa Wu (silver 2008 & bronze 2020) was a highlight for the group.

Towards 32 Coaches

Head Coach at the Nepean Aquatic Swim Club, Sarah Jane Weir commented that, “Being a part of the Towards 32 Female Athlete & Coach Initiative was an incredible opportunity. The wealth of knowledge and the experience of coaches fostered valuable conversations and really challenged us all to look at our processes for developing and supporting our athletes. Chava’s experience really reinforced the importance of strong relationships with athletes, that allow an athlete specific focus when coaching in high performance.”

NSWIS Head Coach Adam Kable spoke of the importance of the initiative, “NSW has lots of talented female athletes spread out across the state doing great things. This initiative was designed to bring these athletes together, foster a sense of community and camaraderie while also providing mentioning from some of NSW’s finest high performance athletes.”

Coaches are also key part of the initiative and an important pillar in taking our state forward. The goal was to bring coaches together from across sports, facilitate in depth coaching conversations, and provide mentoring in how to best support female athletes in achieving their potential.

CEO of Swimming NSW, Kirsten Thomson OLY praised the initiative stating, “NSW has considerable female athlete and coaching talent, we need to nurture this talent and provide women and girls with opportunities to thrive in our sport.”

“We look forward to building the Towards 32 initiative with these athletes and coaches to deliver experiences tailored to support their growth and ambitions”.




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