The NSW Swifts are looking to the future with the announcement of the QBE Swifts Academy this morning.
Launched with the backing of Netball NSW and the NSW Swifts’ principal partner QBE Insurance, the Academy will look to strengthen the foundations of one of the sport’s most celebrated clubs by providing further pathway opportunities to aspiring players from across the state.
The Academy, which will start operation at Netball Central in Sydney Olympic Park later this year and move to the Swifts’ new Centre of Excellence at the Royal Hall of Industries in Moore Park from 2021, will provide a daily training environment for home-grown NSW athletes who have the potential to play for the club in the future.
Outside of the 10 rostered athletes in the main elite squad who contest Suncorp Super Netball, the QBE Swifts Academy will be home to up to 20 additional athletes in Year One.
The additional athletes will consist of Swifts training partners, the NSW Waratahs – who contest the Australian Netball League – and other developing athletes identified by Netball NSW selectors.
Athletes selected for the Academy Program will benefit from up to three high-performance court sessions per week, three strength and conditioning sessions, and programs involving performance analysis, skill and movement mentoring, sports psychology and recovery.
Acting as part of the wider NSW Swifts high-performance team, the Academy will have its own head coach and strength and conditioning coach, along with a number of specialist coaching and performance-related roles.
Nikki Horton, General Manager of the NSW Swifts, said the establishment of the QBE Swifts Academy was a momentous day for the club.
“I think when you look at netball we’ve been the leaders of women in sport for many decades and now it’s about making sure the Swifts are fully equipped for a very competitive future – this Academy does a huge amount to achieve that goal,” she said.
“With tens of thousands of kids playing the game across the state we are lucky to have a large pool of talent in New South Wales and this Academy will provide another goal for them to strive towards.
“It will also be fantastic for these future stars to share facilities with the NSW Swifts, who boast some of the best local, national and international talent in world netball. Elite sport is often about creating heroes and getting the next generation to emulate them and that will be one of the key goals of this venture.
“I would like to thank QBE Insurance, our naming rights partners for the Swifts Academy, and Netball NSW for their vision and support of this.”
QBE Australia-Pacific CEO Vivek Bhatia said he was delighted that the Swifts’ principal partners had the opportunity to further support netball in NSW, especially with a venture that helped young, aspiring netballers fulfil their potential.
“It’s an incredible privilege to support the development of elite talent at one of the state’s favourite clubs,” he said.
“QBE has partnered with the Swifts for more than ten years, joining forces both on and off the field to support the sporting and broader community – the QBE Swifts Academy is yet another example of our partnership in action and a significant milestone in our journey with the club.
“As well as developing a strong pipeline of talent for the Swifts, initiatives like the Academy are an important way to expose more young athletes to playing and coaching excellence, boosting participation and providing a positive experience with benefits that will extend well beyond the court.”
NSW Swifts Head Coach Briony Akle said the Academy would honour players past and present.
“I am very excited about the vision for the Club’s future,” she said.
“The Swifts’ history and legacy, going back to the days of when the likes of Liz Ellis, Cath Cox and Susan Pettitt played for us, is very rich.
“I think an Academy not only develops the next generation but also honours all of the wonderful players who have come through our ranks down the years.
“It is their legacy that inspires us, and it’s what we are looking to continue. This Academy gives us a huge opportunity to achieve similar successes.”