Optimal Athlete Development Framework launched

16 Nov 2018

The objective of British Swimming’s Performance Pathway is to develop athletes that have the skills, characteristics and behaviours to thrive in the highest competitive arenas, specifically at the World Championships and Olympic Games.

The Optimal Athlete Development Framework (OADF) sets out to describe the characteristics that we believe our swimmers will need to possess in order to be successful in 2024 and beyond.


The framework defines the characteristics of both “The Great British Swimmer”, as well as those that are showing “Future Performance Potential”. It is not a rigid curriculum, nor indeed a tool for talent identification or selection.

These characteristics we have chosen have been determined following consultation with leading coaches, support staff and athletes, and further developed by British Swimming in conjunction with Swim England, Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales, supported by the Home Nation Sporting Institutes.


The 6 ‘A-C-C-E-S-S’ pillars of the OADF describe the approach and underlying principles we will use to develop and then transition our ‘Future Performance Potential’ athletes on to becoming a ‘Great British Swimmer’.

British Swimming’s Head of Elite Development, Tim Jones: "This is an incredibly important project that will help determine our collective future. We are adopting a non-prescriptive approach, steering clear of telling coaches and practitioners how to do their jobs. We believe in promoting autonomy, and want to encourage individuality by urging the team around the athlete to exercise all of their knowledge and skill in developing the characteristics set out in this framework.”

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