Monday, June 29, 2015

Introducing Project Ailsa

"This is not a training camp. This is all about creating an environment where our female athletes can thrive." Alan Lynn, National Coach, Scottish Swimming

At the start of June Scottish Swimming announced plans for a new project aimed at creating a positive environment for female swimmers to thrive and fulfil their potential in the sport for as long as possible.

Following the inaugural meeting which started immediately after the Scottish National Swimming Championships on Sunday 28th June and ran to Wednesday 1st July the 40 invited female swimmers launched 'Project Ailsa'.

Named after the famous granite on Ailsa Craig the girls wanted to associate themselves with toughness, resilience, uniqueness and flecks of gold in the rock to help inspire them. The name is also quintessentially Scottish and has the added bonus of being a lovely Scottish girls name.

Athletes involved in Project Ailsa will be exposed to a variety of information and challenges all planned to release the potential of female swimming in Scotland over the next 6 years.

The girls will split their time between swimming sessions, practicals and discussions as well as hearing from Gemma Fay, Scotland’s most capped female footballer with 180 international appearances for her country, who will be guest speaker at a dinner on Tuesday night.

National Coach, Alan Lynn, commented on the project:

"This is not a training camp. This is all about creating an environment where our female athletes can thrive. In order for them to do that I want them to come up with their own set of values, create their own culture and be able to talk openly about expectations and consequence.

“Based on the outcome of those values and the culture they want to work within I then want to empower them to self-regulate. This is just the start of a long journey. We will only meet as a group two or three times a year but I want them to live by what is agreed every day and encourage each other to make the right choices.”

The group consists of young squad swimmers just turning 14 such as Keanna MacInnes to the more experienced athlete such as Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Corrie Scott.

This project comes on the back of research that suggests, despite the overall female participation in Scottish Swimming being higher than for males, there is a disconnection between the figures and the success of the female swimmers, with Hannah Miley being the stand-out beacon of excellence, achieving 11 medals on the international stage and currently ranked world number 1 for the 400m IM.

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