BOURNEMOUTH Colleg-iate School (BCS) have launched their own ASA-affiliated swimming and triathlon clubs to work alongside the school’s existing swim academy.
The launch of BSC Swimming Club also means the end of the formal partnership with Seagulls SC, although the Christchurch club will continue to use the school pool as well as their other training base at Two Riversmeet.
BCS principal Stephen Duckitt said: “I have made it clear to my staff that we will continue to support Seagulls in any way we can. We have a clear responsibility to do that. We are also absolutely clear that we don’t want to poach swimmers from other clubs.
“Of course, people have approached us, partly because of the sensible hours. But all membership applications will come through me.”
Former Ferndown Otters and Great Britain coach Tony Watson, who has been working with BCS coaches Zoe Baker and Adam Parfitt since September, will be the lead triathlon coach.
He said the club was designed to be an “elite training squad for a wide range of age groups”.
“It’s an integral part of Stephen’s vision to develop the sports academy at BCS,” he said.
“He wants to be able to support top training for top sports people coming into the school.
“There will be a limited number of non-BCS pupils as members of the club.
“They will be given the opportunity to train in an elite environment without some of the external pressures that swimming clubs have to cope with.”
BCS swimmers competed under the Seagulls name at the Dorset championships but from now on they will swim at championships, open meets and schools events for BCS.
BCS have no plans to enter any leagues and members will be free to swim in leagues for their home or other clubs, including Seagulls.
“ESSA schools events will be a major target and we will be competing against Millfield, Kelly College and St Felix School,” he said. “It’s based around that kind of vision.”
Duckitt added: “BCS is motivated to promote the next generation of successful Olympians and gold medallists and strongly wishes to support the endeavours of British Swimming, UK Triathlon and associated regional squads.”
Seagulls chairman Kevin Roberts said: “Seagulls and BCS started our association 18 months ago with great enthusiasm as both parties could clearly see the mutual benefits.
“At Seagulls we are proud of our reputation for delivery of successful projects and of course we are disappointed that we were unable to achieve a long-term relationship in this instance.
“However, we fully respect the wishes of BCS to develop a club in their own right and we wish them well for the future.”