50 For A Reason – #26 Boosted By The Best!
As Stephen Milne announces his place in the GB squad, Nicki catches up with him to chat performance level training and reaching his goals.
Anyone who reads the blog regularly will know I am a HUGE fan of Live Active Leisure’s Talented Athlete Scheme. For those that don’t know about this fantastic support, LAL awards passes to local Perthshire and Kinross people who are representing their region or country. This allows these individuals to use the facilities free of charge for their training, which greatly reduces the often prohibitive costs associated with the intense training that has to go into making it as a national or international sportsperson.
For me, this makes performance level participation more accessible for everyone; regardless of your parents income or, for older athletes, your own financial position, you will have access to all venues and the gyms, classes, pools and expertise that these contain.
Anyone competing at performance level has so much more than just their sport to practice for. When you look at great achievers such as Eve Muirhead and Eilidh Childs – both previous members of the Talented Athlete Scheme – you will find that as well as curling and running, they spend intense periods of time in the gym working on their strength and conditioning.
The Talented Athlete Scheme falls under the new Live Active Leisure, Sport Boost brand. This is the area of the business that has been developed to give local sports… well, a boost! Here you will find Community Sports Hubs, Clubs, Coach and Volunteer Development, Grant Funding and the Talented Athlete Scheme. It affords LAL the opportunity to take their vast experience and resources and add value to enhance and support the people who are out there making a difference in the sporting lives of our local communities.
I am, as I’ve said many times, a huge fan. If you don’t make opportunities easy, if accessing affordable sports isn’t obvious, if the volunteer mums and dads aren’t supported then you will find that sports become a folly of the wealthy. And that is wrong.
Because make no mistake, when a young person gets to performance level the sacrifice and dedication required affects an athlete’s entire family; but the rewards, well the rewards are there for all of us to enjoy. Steven and Camilla’s appearance in Rio this year will bolster our entire community which is why the boost he has been given is one that inspires and benefits us all.
I caught up with him the day his big announcement was made… Here’s what the man of the hour had to say!
“The trials for the Olympics were held at the British Championships this year which was 12th to 17th April. I swam the 200M, the 400M and the 1500M and I won a silver in all so I was quite hopeful. The selection policy is a bit confusing – to guarantee a place you need to complete a certain time and come first. After that anyone who comes within 2% of the selection time is considered. That’s at the discretion of the head coach and some others to decide so you don’t know right away.
Anyway, I got an email this morning to say that I had made the team and that I’ll be going to Rio this summer. I don’t know yet which race I’ll be competing in – Bill Furness the head coach of British Swimming will make that decision nearer the time. I’m so excited. Its amazing.”
Steven will head for Rio to the holding camp before the Games begin so that the GB Team can swim and train together as well as acclimatising to the South American pools. Until then he will continue to train under the watchful eye of Ann Dixon, his coach and mentor of many years.
“I train probably 22 hours a week in the pool and then about 4 hours in other things. I’m doing yoga at Rodney just now which is great and I do an extra 2 or 3 hours in the strength gym. Having my Talented Athlete Pass means that I can do all of this at no extra cost to me or my family.”
I have witnessed first-hand the sheer delight that having Stephen in a room full of kids (and adults for that matter!) brings. He is exactly the type of role model we want for our young people and when he hits that pool in July, swimming for Great Britain, he will also be representing Perth and Kinross and all of our members whose monthly fees have helped make our support possible.
Stephen’s participation will bring pride and excitement to the people who know they train in the same pool as an Olympic Athlete, to the other members of Perth City Swim Club who have watched their friend progress, to Ann, his mum and his family and to all of us who live and work alongside this amazing young man.
You see, Sport BOOST is here for everyone and when one person makes the big league, they take all of us with them for the ride. GO STEPHEN!
The Talented Athlete Scheme under Sports Boost
There is certain criteria that an athlete must meet in order to receive a Talented Athlete Pass. They must either be a resident in Perth & Kinross or a member of a Perth & Kinross based sports club. The athlete must also represent their sport* at any of the following standards:
• Scottish Institute of Sport
• Area Institute of Sport
• Scottish / British / European / World Championship Title Holder
• Scottish or Great Britain Squad Member
* Eligible athletes must participate in a sport that has a governing body recognised by Sportscotland. Evidence of this should be included within the application process through Sportscotland's verification form.
The athlete should complete the application form and get it endorsed by the relevant NGB or Area Institute / Squad Coach. The application should then be submitted to Live Active Leisure, where it will be assessed.
The athlete will be sent notification of the outcome of their application, including any particular conditions which may affect their access to our leisure venues.