September 9 - British Swimming today added to the coaching structure of its network of Intensive Training Centres (ITC) with the appointment of Graham Bassi (pictured) as senior coach at Swansea.

He is leaving the position of head coach at Bournemouth Dolphins Swimming Club to take up the role in Swansea where he will work alongside Bud McAllister, the American who guided Janet Evans to four Olympic titles and six world records.

Since beginning a career as a professional coach in 1995 with Lincoln Vulcans, Bassi has coached 12 international swimmers, including Olympians Lizzie Simmonds and Kate Haywood.

He has also coached as part of British swimming teams competing at World and European Championships as well as for the England at the Commonwealth Games.

Bassi said: "I feel this is an opportunity not to be missed and I think this is probably the right time in my career to do it.

“I will be responsible for developing a small group of athletes in preparation for 2012.”

The job will also give Bassi daily access to a 50 metre pool and a range of back-up services such as sport science, medical support, nutritional advice, physiotherapy and land-training.

Bassi, who expects to start his new duties next month, arrived in Bournemouth in December 2005 with a reputation as the most successful club coach in the country after taking Vulcans from obscurity to the very top of age and youth swimming.

His first 18 months in charge were a rollercoaster ride punctuated by fall-outs with parents, a mass resignation of committee members and an exodus of swimmers as he sought to restructure the club.

Since then, however, he has led Dolphins to a best-ever second place in the Western League, their first National Swimming League B-finals and this year their first A-final, their first and second Southern Junior League titles and this summer to the best regional and national age group championship results in the club’s history.

As recently as last month, 13-year-old Amelia Maughan became European Youth Olympic champion in the 100 metres freestyle as well as winning two bronze medals in Finland.

Bassi said: “Bournemouth has been the hardest challenge of my career but in the last two years the most rewarding.

“I hope to continue working with the club by offering some sort of service such as long-course training at Swansea and training camps abroad.”

The announcement of Bassi's appointment completes a comprehensive recruitment process for British Swimming in implementing a network of ITCs while ensuring these are led by the highest-calibre of coaches.

ITCs provide a leading environment for both athletes and coaches in Britain to enhance their development, British Swimming officials claim.

They have been identified as key to an overall strategy designed to maximise performance outcomes and provide sustainable success as swimming moves towards 2012 and beyond.

The ITC network is one of three key initiatives in place to establish a world-class daily training environment in Britain.

The other two elements involve establishing podium and development clubs together with identified Individual athlete support for those outside the new structure.

The philosophy of the ITCs is to offer a full range of land and pool training facilities together with sports science and medicine support in single locations.

British Swimming national performance director Michael Scott is pleased with the progress of the ITC network and is looking forward to seeing the long-term results to be gained from providing an enhanced daily training environment for Britain's talent.

He said: "We're now in the process of ensuring everything is in place to complete our goal of providing a world class daily training environment.

"This is a very important step and is the foundation by which we believe we will improve performance in the international arena."

Related stories
October 2008:
 Legendary American coach appointed to head up Swansea centre
August 2008: British Swimming unveil intensive training centres