National Centres for Swimming

The World Class Swimming Programme operates two National Centres for Swimming, one at the University of Bath and one at Loughborough University.

The two national centres provide the foundation for the sport across Great Britain as it continues to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and beyond operate as performance hubs for the sport. 

The centres are:

  1. National Centre for Swimming, Bath - based at the Sports Training Village at the University of Bath.  Lead National Coach David McNulty, National Coach Jol Finck and Coach Intern Ben Reid
  2. National Centre for Swimming, Loughborough - based at Loughborough University.  Lead National Coach Mel Marshall, National Coach Dave Hemmings and Support Coach Andrew Wallace.

The National Centres work towards developing an open door policy for targeted athletes and coaches within the world class system which involves attending performance and sport science testing programmes.

Key features of the national centres include:

  • 50m pool
  • Provision of fully integrated daily training environment including 25 hours of dedicated pool training per week (60% water time is allocated to long course training).
  • Selected to provide the best possible living environment conducive to high performance training
  • Aim to give support to athletes to ensure they achieve an ideal lifestyle/performance balance.
  • Targeted athletes and coaches on the World Class Programme will be invited to attend both performance and sport science testing programmes.
  • Regional hubs to educate elite coaches of the future

As well as providing facilities for visiting athletes and coaches there is the opportunity for athletes to be based at one of the centres.  Centre based athletes receive access to:

  • Full time training and coaching support in a high performance facility with priority access to water time
  • Targeted training camp opportunities
  • International competition opportunities
  • An integrated Sports science and sports medicine (SSSM) support programme determined by the National Centre Head Coach or National Sprint Coach and subject to approval by the Head of Sports Science and Sports Medicine

National Centre for Swimming Athlete Membership

Application is via completion of an online application form which can be accessed here.

The application form asks for a range of personal information, as well as a number of questions about your swimming career to date, current training volume and the facilities and services you have access to in your current training environment.  In line with our Right Athlete Right Environment (RARE) policy, you are obliged to inform your home coach of your application at the time of submission.  All subsequent correspondence will include your coach, and your parent(s) if you are under 18 years of age.  

Applicants are asked to note the following:

  • Athletes must be eligible to compete for Great Britain.  If athletes are not eligible to compete for Great Britain their application will not be considered.
  • The normal minimum National Centre (NC) entry age for an athlete is 18.  Applications from those under 18 will only be considered and accepted subject to their intended start date, and further discussion around duty of care and education plans.
  • Athletes who have the greatest potential for podium success at the Tokyo 2020 and the Paris 2024 Games are priorities for places at the National Centres, and in particular athletes with a performance profile that shows genuine senior medal potential, and a capability of bridging the gap from their current performance status to World and/or Olympic podium success.  Places may on occasion also be awarded to athletes who perform a specific role for the training group to add value to the overall training environment.
  • Applications will only be accepted via the online form during three separate two month application windows over the course of the year (September/October; January/February and April/May). 
  • On receipt, your enquiry will be considered by the British Swimming NC selection panel.  They will look at the responses to the questions asked, and your overall performance history.  Applicants may then be asked to complete the British Swimming AIMs survey.  Our aim is to notify successful applicants within two weeks of the end of the application window whether or not their application has been taken to the next stage.  
  • Successful applicants will ordinarily be invited for a formal trial at the NC as the next stage of the process.  This normally lasts for a week and is an opportunity for the centre staff to assess an applicant’s fit within the centre, and for the applicant to experience life as a NC athlete.  Following a review of the trial a decision will be made on whether to offer a place. 
  • In exceptional cases athletes will not be required to attend a trial and may be offered a place with immediate effect.   


Table - NC Applications

* Any application made outside of these periods will not be considered until the next window.
** Exact start dates will be discussed and agreed between the athlete and the National Centre Lead Coach. 


Athletes who are offered a place at a NC will be subject to a National Centre Agreement.  The agreements sets out some key responsibilities around conduct and behaviour, as well as guidance on support available.  As part of the agreement you will be asked to review, accept and abide by the British Swimming Athlete Code of Conduct, all National Programme protocols (e.g. daily wellness monitoring) and any specific expectations established by the National Centre Lead Coach.  Athletes at NCs will work closely with the coaching and support staff to identify and agree annual performance goals (process and outcome) which will be reviewed periodically.  The National Centre Agreement is ordinarily reviewed at the conclusion of the season.

 For any clarifications or further information, please contact Adam Clarke, Head of Performance Services at or telephone 07825 768858.

If you would like to visit one of the centres prior to making an application to join, this can be arranged by contacting Tina Ryan, National Centres and Athlete Planning Manager, via email at