SAY hello to Mel and Stephen Scott and their two children Amelia, 10, and Ben, 12.
The Scott family thought nothing of packing up the Pajero and heading from their hometown of Albury, on the border between New South Wales and Victoria, and travelling more than 500km to last weekend’s Pho3nix Junior Excellence Program (JX) Clinic at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
Amelia and Ben (pictured) were among the 120 junior swimmers from 46 clubs that attended the coaching clinic from all over New South Wales where they were joined by five Dolphins – Alex Tuckfield (Paralympian Tokyo 2020), Ellie Cole (Paralympian Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020), Kirsten Thomson (Olympian Sydney 2000), Meg Bailey (Commonwealth Games Gold Coast 2018) and Tim Hodge (Paralympian Tokyo 2020).
Mana Global and the Pho3nix Foundation, in partnership with Swimming Australia, ran the clinic which is the first step for junior athletes in swimming’s high-performance space, and is a more streamlined, targeted approach.
Mum Mel said: “Amelia and Ben love swimming and are members of the Albury Amateur Swim Club … it’s a long drive but we don’t mind the highway driving. We can’t wait for one day to have clinics in our area but until then we just pack the car up but leave the dog at home!”
“They started off doing learn to swim when they were six months old, they then had a taste of competition through school carnivals and they have just progressed from there … but most importantly, they love it.”
Most of the World Championships Dolphins team that dominated in Japan recently are graduates of the JX program including Olympic medallists Mollie O’Callaghan, Isaac Cooper and Arianne Titmus.
The Pho3nix JX Program is for kids aged 9-13, enabling them to develop their skills as they move into their teenage years. It aims to recognise and inspire young swimmers and build commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the pathway into senior swimming.
Developing healthy habits in the pool, cultivating persistence, resilience, confidence, and goal setting, the program seeks to develop like skills that help junior swimmers become successful in and out of the pool.
More than 200,000 swimmers have participated in the program since launched in 2007, with 17,000 expected to take part this year alone.
For the first time, a clinic was held in conjunction with the National Short Course Championships, and the Sydney clinic – which involved three stations, a Q&A with Dolphins, and specialist coaching session on starts and turns – sold out in three hours.
Pho3nix JX Clinics will run from this month through to April 2024 on the following schedule:
- Sept 29 – Swimming NT JX Clinic (Parap, NT)
- Oct 14 – Swimming VIC JX Clinic (MSAC, VIC)
- Oct 16 – Swimming SA JX Clinic (venue TBC, SA)
- Oct 21 – Swimming WA JX Clinic (venue TBC, WA)
- Nov – Swimming TAS JX Clinic (venue and date TBC, TAS)
- Dec – Swimming NSW JX Clinic (venue and date TBC, NSW)
- Dec 15 & 16 – Swimming WA JX Clinic (venue TBC, WA)
- Jan – SwimAus Open Water JX Clinic (venue and date TBC)
- Mar 14 – Swimming NT JX Clinic (Parap, NT)
- Mar 16 & 17 – Swimming NSW JX Clinic (venue TBC, NSW)
- Apr 5 – SwimAus Age Nationals JX Clinic (venue and date TBC)
- Apr – Swimming VIC JX Clinic (venue and date TBC)