Olympic training for Downs’ Syndrome GB Squad
Former Olympic and world class swimmer Nick Gillingham MBE attended the Down’s Syndrome Swimming GB training camp which was held at Willowburn Sports Centre last weekend to pass on some top tips to the squad of swimmers.
The team hold training weekends four times a year at different locations around the UK and this month the Willowburn Sports Centre in Alnwick was the chosen venue - picked for its excellent facilities both in the centre and around the town.
The training weekend involved a range of activities to improve strength, technique and fitness with a view to sending each swimmer back to their home club with advice on what they can do to improve their skills.
With the Down's Syndrome International Swimming Organisation European Championships taking place in Paris in November, the training sessions proved a great way to prepare for this big competition.
The squad of up to 30 swimmers are aged between 12 and 34 and are selected for this training once they have achieved the necessary european qualification times.
Neal McDonnell, whose son Christopher is a member of the GB Squad, organised the training weekend. He said:
“ The staff at the Willowburn Leisure Centre provided excellent support for the squad and couldn’t have been more helpful. The facilities at the centre are fantastic and we had a really enjoyable and productive weekend. Nick Gillingham was brilliant too. He gave the team some fantastic tips and even brought along his medals so they could get their pictures taken.”
Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said:
“Many talented, dedicated and inspirational swimmers from all over the country travelled to Alnwick to take part. I hope the team enjoyed their stay in Northumberland and we wish them the very best of luck in Paris next month. ”