A glittering line up of current British swimming stars make up Millfield’s newly formed performance swim squad.
With a combined Olympic medal haul of three gold and three silver medals, and two world champions, Millfield students are being inspired daily by Matt Richards, James Guy, Emily Large, Cameron Kurle, Alex Painter, Jessica Podger, Elliot Woodburn, Connor Cherrington, Tom Watkin, Solomon Williams, Alex Sargeant and Max McCusker, who train in the school’s 50m pool.
The squad is made up of the 12 swimmers, nine of whom previously attended Millfield, who undertake nine pool sessions a week alongside strength and conditioning training in the school’s gym. Some of the squad previously trained at Bath, Loughborough and Stirling University training centres but have chosen to base themselves at Millfield for the coaching expertise and facilities.
Their aim is to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games next summer. The squad are coached by Millfield’s Ryan Livingstone, named British Swimming Coach of the Year and part of Team GB’s Paris 2024 coaching team, who is an expert in physiological and training science knowledge, essential for top end development. The programme is overseen by the Millfield Director of Swimming and Olympian, Euan Dale.
Olympian and Millfield Performance Squad member Matt Richards hopes to win more medals in the Paris 2024 Olympics. He said, “The performance programme has been exceptional, it has been the most individualised training I have ever had in my career and the results have spoken for themself. The team of coaches and swimmers we have are second to none and there is nowhere I would rather be. It has been a real privilege to train alongside some of the talented sportspeople and students at Millfield school. Hopefully some of them will have been able to learn from me as I have been able to learn from them.”
Millfield Swimming is one of the UK’s leading schools and club programmes in the UK and the squad are inspiring the next generation of swimmers who are experiencing how the worlds best operate on a day-to-day basis.
The squad supports Millfield’s highest-ability student swimmers offering advice on being a student-athlete.
They train six days a week, giving Millfield swimmers, alongside modern pentathletes and triathletes, the chance to learn and compete alongside the squad during term time throughout the season.
Performance squad coach, Ryan Livingstone, who joined Millfield after the Tokyo Olympic Games said, “I think it's great that our Millfield students get to see how the world’s best operate on a day-to-day basis and compete alongside them under Millfield through domestic competition. On the flip side, it empowers the performance athletes to understand their position as role models in the swimming community. Each week, the squad will train for 18 hours in the pool, it is broken into nine units, alongside this they will have four hours of strength and conditioning. The key when looking for optimal performance is to maximise the rest and recovery between each unit, so output can be optimised.”
Swimming is one of the school’s largest participation sports and the programme operates with a team of six coaches, plus support from Prep and triathlon coaches.
The school has a rich history of supporting the formative years of a significant number of swimmers, including Duncan Goodhew and Mark Foster, who have gone on to compete at the highest level at the Olympic Games or onto tertiary education in some of the UK’s, US, and other international centres of excellence. Three of the squad have scholarships at US universities next year to continue their swimming and academics.
Solomon Williams, was one of Millfield's top achievers this year, receiving three A*s and one A in his A levels. He will be spending the year as a member of the performance squad before heading to Yale University in the US on a swimming scholarship. He said, “It's been a privilege to train alongside some of the highest calibre swimmers that this country has to offer. It has helped me develop both in terms of performance output but also daily processes. This will be my first year as a senior athlete, and therefore above all else I’ll be working on setting the foundations that will be important for my long-term career. My upcoming target meets will be the TYR Pro Series in Chicago in March competing for Wales, as well as the British (Olympic) Trials in April of next year.”
The squad members will represent Millfield swimming at the Arena League and will be in attendance at various swimming competitions throughout the year to support Millfield Swim Club. Some will be selected for the European Short Course Championships, and all will attend the National Winter Short Course Championships coming up in December.