The concept of a central elite swimming squad in Derbyshire was discussed back in the 1970s. Unfortunately the clubs in the area could not agree on the structure and so the idea was considered but never pursued for three decades.
Then in 2001 Julie Gibson, the Principal Officer for Sport at Derby City Council, attended a meeting hosted by the City of Derby Swimming Club, where the idea of the central elite squad was mooted. Although it was clear the clubs wanted to discuss options, it was also clear that an independent lead was needed.
In 2002, Bill Furniss presented the need for the best to train together. This as yet unformed elite squad was dubbed “Club X”. Planning got underway for this new squad, and the squad’s first Head Coach, Mark Rose, was appointed in 2003, and in September of that year, 36 swimmers attended the first training session.
The swimmers were asked to select a name from a choice of three, with Derventio eXcel being the favourite. Derventio means ‘in and around the River Derwent’, which runs through Derby. The word eXcel is a play on the X from the original Club X and our aim for excellence. In 2008, Mark Rose moved to Manchester Aquatics, and Andi Manley was appointed as his replacement. Andi continued the development of DX, and his reputation and that of DX as a truly elite squad grew with swimmers such as Molly Renshaw and Sarah Vasey coming through the programme.
It was recognised that there was a need to identify young swimmers within the County, which lead to the creation of the Derventio Excel Development Squad (DXDS). Kim Hill was appointed to help bring on these youngsters, which she did with great success, with young swimmers such as Abbie Wood and Imogen Clark being coached by Kim in their early days at DX. Kim later moved to be head coach at Winchester penguins.
Andi Manley left DX in the autumn of 2015, having been offered a job in Canada, and was replaced by current head coach Jamie Main. Jamie arrived with an excellent pedigree having been part of the Nova programme in Nottinghamshire which produced the likes of Olympic swimming legend Rebecca Adlington. He was joined at DX by Jack Chambers and Kyle Hudson. The squad structure was altered to have Elite, National and Talent squads, all being full time.
Unfortunately this was a challenging time for Derventio Excel and other Derbyshire clubs, as Derby’s main swimming pool Moorways was closed by the City Council. This left only one swimming pool in Derby to serve the whole city. The Council recognised the need for a brand new facility – and everyone at Derventio Excel is looking forward to the opening of a brand new 50m pool in Derby, scheduled for completion in 2021.
Derventio Excel has also supported swimmers in the North of the county by setting up a Northern hub in 2015. This operated out of Chesterfield swimming squad under the guidance of coach Mark Tanner, until 2016. The North hub was relaunched and rebranded as DX North in 2017.
With the DX presence building strength in Derbyshire through 2018 and 2019 the squad has recently produced medal winners at Regional, English, British and International level.