By Nick Butler

2013 World Champion Cate Campbell will be among those taking advantage of the Podium Centres ©Getty ImagesDecember 13 - Swimming Australia have announced 15 podium centres for 2014 in a latest move designed to reverse their recent decline and return to the top of the international stage.

After the low of winning just one gold medal at London 2012, in the women's 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay, Australia improved to take three individual titles at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.

Yet this still falls well short of their high standards of the past and the announcement of the new podium centres for 2014 is part of an attempt to ensure greater fortunes building up to Rio 2016.

The centres will indeed provide a "world's best training environment and support for elite swimmers and coaches, as they push for international podium success in Glasgow [2014], Rio, Tokyo 2020 and beyond," it is claimed.

Queensland will be home to six centres, with four in Brisbane and two on the Gold Coast, while New South Wales and Victoria will host three each.

Western Australia and South Australia will also host one while another will be based at the National Training Centre in Canberra, replacing the previous Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) swimming programme there. 

Repeating their Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games 22 strong gold medal haul at Glasgow 2014 is an immediate aim ©AFP/Getty ImagesRepeating their Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games 22 strong gold medal haul at Glasgow 2014 is an immediate aim for Australia ©AFP/Getty Images

A central pillar of the Swimming Australia High Performance strategy, the programmes specifically aim to "focus investment and resources in high performing coaching environments with a proven track record, or the capacity to achieve podium performances in the future."

This was something explained further by Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson who described the podium centres as "another step towards the vision of Australia being the world's best in and out of the pool by 2020."

"We have a vision of wanting to be the best in the world by 2020 and the establishment of high quality daily training environments is pivotal to achieving this objective," he added.

"The high standard of submissions was evident to the selection panel.

"To have more than 30 centres express interest in being involved in Australian swimming as a podium centre is a credit to the clubs, state institutes of sports, schools, universities, and facilities that are contributing to high performance swimming in Australia.

"There is no doubt that it is a collective and combined effort to produce world's best coaches and athletes and that's where this programme will excel, forming clear partnerships with swimming clubs, and high performance coaches to achieve our vision."

Along with these partners, the coaching of specific areas as well as better integration of sport science and access to camps and competitions that will have "demonstrable performance impact," are other areas to be focused upon. 

It follows the unveiling of "Campaign Rio" in October - a drive for Australia to rise back up the medals table in all sports as well as merely swimming - as well as the subsequent announcement that alcohol would be banned in the Athletes' Village at Rio.

A "toxic" culture involving alcohol, particularly encompassing the swimming team, was partly blamed the disappointing performances in London where Australia languished down in tenth position on the table.

The recruitment of director of high performance Michael Scott, as well as new national head coach Jacco Verhaeren, were further attempts to revive these fortunes. 

Recruiting performance director Michael Scott has been another attempt to reverse the decline ©Getty ImagesRecruiting performance director Michael Scott has been another attempt to reverse the decline ©Getty Images

With the podium centres in operation, Scott and Verhaeren will have more opportunities to "provide regular contact and feedback to our elite coaches and swimmers." 

This was something Scott highlighted when he explained how the Centres are "designed to capitalise on our existing strengths of producing world class athletes through a strong club system."

"Working in partnership with each centre, Swimming Australia will make investments into key areas that underpin international high performance success aiming to enhance the environment that the coach and swimmer work in on a daily basis," he added. 

"In establishing the network of podium performance centres, we also acknowledge that the traditional strength of clubs and coaches has meant that there will always be swimmers, not based within the formally identified network, who achieve world-class outcomes.

"These athlete and coach units will continue to be well supported through our individual podium programme."

The Centres are due to open from January 1 and more details on the exact locations can be found here.