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, was given the task of preparing a Best Value Review, which was to include a scrutiny of the way that the local authority supported swimming. Julie 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.
A meeting was arranged for early 2002 at Derby College, where Bill Furniss presented the need for the best to train together. This as yet unformed elite squad was dubbed “Club X”. A steering group was soon established – to which every club and partner could send one representative. From this point the steering group met every 4-6 weeks.
The group quickly requested the views and support of British Swimming and encouraged all partners to attend regularly. The enthusiasm of this group, the ability to work as a team and the desire for progress were the keys to their success.
By July 2003, six coaches were interviewed and the squad’s first Head Coach, Mark Rose, was appointed. A month later swimmers were selected. On September 8th 2003, 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.
Incidentally, 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 2005, the squad gained pool time in the northern part of the county and Simon Ferrarelli was appointed as Assistant Coach under the community coaching scheme.
In 2008, Mark Rose moved to Manchester Aquatics as part of the ASA’s Beacon Programme, leaving a vacancy, which was filled by the current Head Coach Andi Manley.