Dave lands GB top job

IPSWICH swimming coach Dave Champion has been specially selected to head the Great Britain squad.The 39-year-old – head coach at Crown Pools for 14 years – has been handed the crucial role by British national performance director, Bill Sweetenham.

By Debbie Watson

IPSWICH swimming coach Dave Champion has been specially selected to head the Great Britain squad.

The 39-year-old – head coach at Crown Pools for 14 years – has been handed the crucial role by British national performance director, Bill Sweetenham.

Champion will fulfil the lead post for the forthcoming European Short Course Championships in Germany.

A member of the British coaching staff at this year's Commonwealth Games, Champion has consistently proved his professional strength alongside his sporting peers.

In Suffolk he is well known for a long-running swimming partnership with world class Ipswich star, Karen Pickering.

Most Read

He has coached the 30-year-old since she began her competitive pool career in Brighton. Earlier this year he received an award from Suffolk ASA in recognition of his coaching service.

"The appointment is a great honour for me," said Champion. "It was completely unexpected but I'm absolutely thrilled and I'm looking forward to testing myself in this leadership role.

"Bill Sweetenham has told me that the idea is to give me experience of heading the team, and to try and increase my confidence at this level of work.

"Professionally it's a really big thing for me. It feels good to say 'I'll be Head Coach for the British team'."

Champion made an important contribution to the British team throughout the Commonwealth Games.

Although he was not the head coach for that event, he was working alongside other major players in the swimming world and had specific responsibility for the winning 4x200m women's relay team.

He said: "When you're picked as one of the coaches for an event like that it's because of the performance of your swimmer – Karen formed part of the Commonwealth team – and because it's believed that you will be able to contribute something significant to the team's morale and success as a whole.

"I really enjoyed being a part of the Games in that way. It's always great to see your swimmers get the medals."

He added: "This time I'll be taking that extra step. Instead of being one of the team of coaches, I'll be the one doing the talking and leading them all.

"It's a fantastic challenge and one that I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into."

The European Short Course Championships takes place between December 12th and 15th.

Each of the 17 selected British swimmers has already been officially notified and training for the event is under way.

Ipswich's Karen Pickering has decided not to take part in this event and instead will be concentrating on preparation for the trials for the 2004 Olympic Games.

This week she returned from a three-week break from training.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter