Teddington swimmers can be the best

Croydon Guardian: High hopes: Teddington Swimming Club head coach Ed Sinclair is aiming big. High hopes: Teddington Swimming Club head coach Ed Sinclair is aiming big.

Double Olympian and new head coach Ed Sinclair says he is out to make Teddington Swimming Club one of the best in the region.

The Twickenham-born 29-year-old returned to his swimming roots six weeks ago having left a top level career behind him, with nine World and European championships medals in the trophy cabinet.

Sinclair, who started his coaching career at Millfield School, has ambitious plans to see the club rival London big guns Ealing, Barnet and Hillingdon.

He believes the successes of the likes of Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has brought a change in mentality in the British team in that it is not longer good enough simply to make the finals at major championships.

And he reckons creating a pathway to the top at Teddington will need to draw on that attitude, while at the same time making sure the sport's youngsters continue to enjoy themselves.

“When I was on the British team, making the team was some people’s main objective and anything on top of that was a bonus,” he said.

“The sport’s recent success means swimmers have the belief they can win medals now. That is a major change in mentality.

“Teddington is a very healthy club, but I want to create a clear pathway for our young athletes to go from the club, to the national championships and ultimately into the national team.

“That doesn’t mean we are focusing purely on the elite end, it is a case of giving everyone - of all standards - the opportunity to realise their potential.

“It is about being inclusive and keeping things fun.”

Sinclair is preparing his squad for the London regional age group swimming championships in a fortnight’s time at Crystal Palace, with the aim of qualifying athletes for the national finals.

The club is already represented at the national youth finals, but the new Teddington coach is hoping to add to that tally.

“I don’t want to single people out because we have a few talented youngsters here. If we can get one or two more to the nationals that will be a real feather in our cap,” he added.

“There are people at the top end in the club, who have great futures ahead of them.”

Sinclair, a former student at Newland House School, called time on a competitive swimming career after the 2004 Athens Olympics having helped the British 4x200m men’s freestyle relay team to fifth place at the Sydney Games four years earlier.

He moved into coaching at Millfield, but has no regrets about retiring despite the London 2012 Olympics being only two years away.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make. When I retired I knew I’d left nothing in the pool,” he said.

“To make the team I had to train harder than anyone else and I’d had a great career. It was easy.”

Who are you?

Name: Ed Sinclair.

Age: 29.

Lives: Teddington.

Achievements: Competing at two Olympic Games; competing at four European Championship, winning six medals; racing five World Championships, winning three medals; holding the British 200m freestyle record for three years; achieving a world ranking on seventh.

What next?: Sinclair has a two-year contract to coach Teddington Swimming Club having spending five years as assistant coach at Millfield School.

For more information on Teddington Swimming Club visit teddingtonsc.org.

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