Lynn: Coaches are key to improving talent pool
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