Lynn: Coaches are key to im­prov­ing tal­ent pool

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL, SWIMMING - SU­SAN EGELSTAFF

THE last night of the Scot­tish Na­tional Cham­pi­onships at Toll­cross In­ter­na­tional Swimming Cen­tre may have had fewer big guns on show than ear­lier in the week but it capped off a suc­cess­ful four days which has given Alan Lynn, the na­tional coach, plenty to be sat­is­fied with.

Lynn took up the reins last Oc­to­ber with Scot­tish swimming in a thrillingly healthy state. .

Ten medals at Glas­gow 2014 was the sport’s sec­ond strong­est show­ing ever at Com­mon­wealth Games and ear­lier this month it was con­firmed that swimming will be the high­est funded sportscot­land sport over the next four years.

Lynn de­clared him­self happy with the per­for­mances he has seen over the last four days but knows that im­prove­ments must be made in or­der to con­tinue re­cent in­ter­na­tional suc­cess.

“My first chal­lenge is to move us on from where we are now which is ob­vi­ously a pretty high level,” he said.

“Most of my work is go­ing to be done through the coaches.

“For too long, I think the coaches have been ne­glected and my role will be to sup­port them in what­ever area they need it.

“We have a lot of good op­tions for the swim­mers around the coun­try now, that’s only go­ing to get bet­ter as we de­velop fur­ther and I think that up-skilling the coaches is a way for us to move on to another level.”

Lynn is also fo­cus­ing on im­prov­ing the strength in depth of the fe­male swim­mers.

There is a wealth of tal­ent on the men’s side – Michael Jamieson and Ross Mur­doch are just two of a num­ber of male Scot­tish world-class swim­mers but on the women’s side, Han­nah Mi­ley has been plough­ing a lone fur­row in re­cent years. Lynn is be­gin­ning to ad­dress that. This week, Scot­land’s top 40 fe­male swim­mers will gather at Toll­cross for a train­ing camp aimed at in­creas­ing their col­lec­tive level of per­for­mance rather than hav­ing merely one or two out­stand­ing in­di­vid­u­als at any par­tic­u­lar time.

“This camp is about cre­at­ing a cul­ture where the ath­letes take re­spon­si­bil­ity and self-reg­u­late.

“None of them lack the knowl­edge of what to do but I find that a lot of them don’t nec­es­sar­ily make the right choices all the time,” he said. “If I knew ex­actly why we’ve been stronger on the male side than the fe­male it would be easy to fix.

“Some of it’s cul­tural I think – we live in a male-dom­i­nated world, sport is still male-dom­i­nated and I think that girls can some­times ac­cept that too easily. Of course, there are in­di­vid­u­als who haven’t and who have blazed a trail for women in sport but I think we need to give the girls con­fi­dence, give them an iden­tity and raise their ex­pec­ta­tions. We need them to stand up and be counted.”

Lynn has al­ready turned his fo­cus to the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games, the chal­lenge of which vis­i­bly ex­cites him. “Since 2002, we’ve got used to go­ing to these Games and win­ning lots of medals so that’s our ex­pec­ta­tion now,” he said.

“Go­ing to the Aus­tralians home patch is al­ways tough – Gold Coast is go­ing to be stun­ning though and if you can’t raise your per­for­mance there, in the home of swimming, then you can’t do it any­where.”

In the pool, Cor­rie Scott, bronze medal­list at Glas­gow 2014 in the 50m breast­stroke, won gold last night in that same event and was happy with her per­for­mances over the four days.

“I’ve had a busy week­end but I love rac­ing and it’s good to swim in com­pet­i­tive con­di­tions,” the 21 year-old said. “It’s all about process at the mo­ment – prac­tis­ing my dive and my fin­ish be­cause it’s such fine mar­gins in this event.

“The Olympic tri­als will be in this pool next year and that’s what I’m look­ing to­wards now.”

Some of it’s cul­tural I think – we live in a male­dom­i­nated world, sport is still male-dom­i­nated and girls can some­times ac­cept that too easily

MAK­ING A SPLASH: Thomas How­dle com­petes in the Scot­tish Na­tional Open Cham­pi­onships at Toll­cross

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