off-site swimming experience

Offering opportunities for swimmers to experience competition or training ‘off site’ is something our swimming club invests in, embraces, and promotes.

The Optimum Athlete Development Framework (OADF) has been developed by British Swimming and the Home Nation swimming countries to help coaches develop swimmers of the future. Within the document, it clearly states there are three distinct areas coaches can help swimmers along their swimming pathway. The three areas include.

  • The person
  • The athlete
  • The performer

Within these areas, the 5 pillars of coaching support its delivery. These are:

  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Lifestyle 
Further reading on OADF can be found on the British Swimming ‘Off the Blocks’ website. This is available for Swimmers, Parents and Coaches via a registration process.


What is an offsite swimming experience?

Training and competing within the home comforts of Winchester, only allows for certain skills, attributes, and behaviors to be developed. Offering opportunities for swimmers to experience competition or training ‘off site’ is something Winchester City swimming club invests in, embraces, and promotes.


What are the benefits of an offsite experience?

Linked into OADF and the five pillars, the benefit for offsite activity is not to be underestimated and offer huge benefits to the person, athlete, and performer. Our developing swimmers, while off site, learn how to take ownership, be resilient and be supportive of others are just three areas that they will need to build character to help improve their performance when it matters.

Offsite experiences create opportunity for individuals or as a group to spend a period of time focused on improving their technical, tactical, physical & psychological techniques without their normal day to day distractions.  It also helps create a strong sense of belonging to a team by being part of a group driven by a shared goal. 


Offsite compared to the home training environment

The focus of an ‘off site’ experience varies dependent on the group that utilises it and the period within the season. The focus can be training volume or racing tactical skills. Most athletes use the opportunity to learn new techniques, get inspired by other coaches and athletes, make new friendships and train without worry of school or home life distractions. Training at home can be limited by time constraints, work, family or social commitments and the idea is when ‘offsite’, all that is removed, and training becomes more focused.

One skill of OADF is to become a ‘student of the Sport’. In addition to the training or racing itself, camps can provide many opportunities to cover topics that are directly related to training or racing. This could be additional Strength and Conditioning work, rehabilitation, enhanced technical & tactical work, nutrition, and team bonding just to name a few.

  • It should be noted that if swimmers have long term injury or illness, offsite activities, at the discretion of the coach and team manager, may not be recommended or advisable to attend.
  • It should also be noted that these experiences will be out with the normal monthly training fee costs and refunds to these costs cannot be reimbursed because of attendance at these. These experiences will have a specific individualised one-off fee for attendance.


2023 / 2024 offsite experience

As mentioned above, Winchester will support and embrace these experiences, they are in addition to the normal training environment and should add training or racing value to the swimmer attending. 

Our approach is to:

  • Support our swimmers that can qualify for National events with an offsite training or racing experience.
And / or:
  • Swimmers who are still developing to qualify for national events there is an alternative off-site racing experience.


The offsite training experience


National, Youth & Junior, non-national qualifiers.


One of the few downsides of having such an incredible training facility is that most of the major meets take place at our home pool. Our swimmers rarely get an opportunity to race outside of our home venue and are therefore missing out on the experiences that are valuable in developing athletes. Swimmers who may only qualify for regions and counties, offering an experience away from Winchester really adds value, increases engagement and offers a positive experience.

It will always be in Winchesters plans to fully support our own meet program and use them as ‘Process’ meets into our end of cycle targeted meet(s).  We would ideally like to give our swimmers the experience of racing ‘out of region’. Benefits of this approach include.

  • Learning to be comfortable outside of their home environment or comfort zone.
  • Racing against different swimmers and different clubs, building friendships.
  • Learning and seeing there is life outside of Winchester.
  • Time management.
  • Nutrition.
  • Independence, Ownership

When and where?

Coaches are currently working on our competition calendar to include the above and help make the inclusive offer at Winchester a positive swimming journey. Potential racing experiences include.

  • Jersey Tigers meet (October Half-Term)
  • Cardiff Capital Open meet (May)
  • Stuttgart Swim Fest (June)
As you can see there is one ‘away meet’ opportunity for each of the three cycles that may be considered.


Criteria for inclusion

As ever, while wanting this to be a positive experience and swimmers taking ownership of the swimming journey there will be a criteria for each experience that will need to be applied. Some or all these elements can be applied to both the training and racing experience. Swimmers’ qualities needed for both experiences.

  • Enjoys their swimming journey
  • Shows resilience and demonstrates robustness
  • Is driven and accepts swimming is a choice
  • Has developing independence skills
  • Is physically able and suitable
  • Demonstrates positive and supporting performance behaviors
  • Is coachable.
Specific offsite training experience criteria:
  • Has competed in Swim England Winter Nationals OR British Swimming Para Championships
  • Highest ranked FINA Points. Minimum standard of 550 points
  • Commitment to training attendance throughout the 2022-23 season
  • Fully committed to the competition program set out by the Head Coach
  • Discretionary selections can be made by the Head Coach for swimmers that demonstrate the above qualities whilst also showing great future potential.
Please note
Inclusion into either experience is at the absolute discretion of the Head Coach or in their absence the Assistant Head Coach.

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