By Roberto Pavoni – Deputy Director of Swimming
Here at Plymouth College we pride ourselves on having and promoting a balance between academics and our pupils’ other interests. In the sports departments, we have many opportunities on offer for our pupils, but one of the biggest lies within our Performance Swimming Programme.
In partnership with the successful swimming club, Plymouth Leander, we can offer swimming sessions in one of our fifteen squads, specifically designed to cater for all levels of competitive swimmer. Our Junior squads, for swimmers immediately out of swimming lessons, right up to our High Performance squad for swimmers who are competing on international teams, there is a place for everyone.
A typical week will include several swimming sessions, between 45 mins and 2.5 hours, with both long and short course availability, as well as the opportunity to work with our Strength and Conditioning Programme between 1-3 times a week. The training schedule depends on the level and age of the swimmer. The athlete is challenged in order to achieve their goals, but also looked after in order to keep them happy, healthy, and on top of their school work and other interests, which are just as important to us.
One of the fantastic benefits about performance sport at Plymouth College is that we are able to be flexible with the students’ timetables in order to allow them to access the swimming pool and gym during their school day. In conjunction with the Director of Sport and the Head of Academic Learning, the Performance Swimming Programme arranges the best possible schedule for the swimmers to achieve the correct balance. Swimmers can finish their school day, having also completed their training day, giving them access to free time in the evenings to study, socialise and rest. We work very closely with each individual to maximise every minute of every day, as we value highly the time of our student-athletes.
In addition to the above, we can offer physiotherapy, nutritional, and psychological support networks that really sets our programme apart and enables our swimmers to fulfil their potential.
Swimming is an incredibly challenging and demanding sport that tests all of our athletes. The life lessons that go hand in hand with these challenges, however, are extremely important here at Plymouth College. Our swimmers learn to think and act independently, for example. We also promote excellent time management and organisational skills and foster a strong team spirit. Athletes are encouraged to have lofty goals, and to be dedicated and motivated to achieve those dreams.
It is our aim that once our athletes complete their time at Plymouth College, they will have learnt all the skills they need, both in and out of the pool, to set them up for the next step in their journey. But don’t just take it from us, we invite you to read the experiences of one of our student athletes, Lana Broekhoven.
Lana Broekhoven – Plymouth College & Plymouth Leander Swimmer
Plymouth College has given me the opportunity to find the perfect balance between focusing on my school work and focusing on my swimming career. Being part of the performance swimming programme has really shown me that I can work hard in school whilst also enjoying going to training. One of my favourite benefits about doing a performance sport at Plymouth College is how flexible my timetable is so that I can either swim or do gym during my free periods, giving me more time after school to focus on my homework, and still have time to relax.
Another amazing part of being at Plymouth College is the additional support we get. They offer physiotherapy for when someone is injured, they also offer nutritional workshops to make sure we eat a healthy diet. I think that this really sets this programme apart from others and gives us the ability to reach our full potential.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time at Plymouth College so far and I’m so sad that it’s coming to an end. I’ve learned so much from being a part of this team and made so many friends from all over the world, and i will always cherish them and these moments in the next step of my journey.