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Sporting Village could produce future Olympians
OLYMPIC-standard swimmers and waterpolo players could be produced in Basildon after local clubs were given a major boost by legacy plans for London 2012.
Swimming governing body the ASA plans to fund one of the top coaches in the country to help bring through talent at the Basildon & Phoenix Swimming Club at the Basildon Sporting Village.
And it has also pledged £40,000 of Sport England money to pay for a full-time specialist coach at Basildon Waterpolo Club for two years.
Dave Warriner, acting chairman of the swimming club and a coach at the waterpolo club, said: “It is a great boost for the town and yet another indication of the sporting talent we have at the Sporting Village.
“What has happened here is the governing body has identified our young club as having potential and, of course, excellent facilities.
“And the long-term plan is to provide funding to help make good clubs like ours into great clubs capable of producing elite and hopefully one day Olympic competitors.”
Warriner says he hopes that Basildon can establish a reputation similar to the one which has been enjoyed by the Crystal Place National Sports Centre for decades.
He said: “The centre has only been open for a year and we have already had a million people through the door.
“And on top of our progress with our swimming and waterpolo clubs, we have gymnastics facilities as good as anywhere in the country and a great set-up for athletics too.”
The swimming club will be put on the ASA’s Beacon Programme. It will also work closely with Basildon Council and SLM – the BSV operators – on a five-year plan aimed at turning the club into one of the best in the country.
The waterpolo club is one of only three clubs – the others are in Plymouth and Sheffield – to receive the funding after being given Development Club Status.
England Talent Programme coach Mike Chadwick was appointed in January to help bring through its talented crop of youngsters.
Councillor Kevin Blake, Basildon Council’s lead member for leisure and arts, said: “I think Basildon is in a fantastic position to benefit from the Olympic Legacy. And much of that is down to the success of the Sporting Village and the talented athletes that use it.
“I hope our swimming, water polo and gymnastics clubs are just the start of something special for sport, and that this hugely popular facility will be the touchstone for all our future success.”
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