British Para-Swimming Interview

Chris Furber has been National Performance Director for British Para-Swimming since May 2013.  He has over 13 years of experience working in sports. Here, Katie interviews Chris about how he has achieved his goals during that time:

What do you consider to be the key drivers of performance and competitiveness?

Everyone is different and our athletes are unique.  It’s vital to understand every athlete’s needs and their motivation. They have commitment, dedication and a drive that most people simply don’t possess.  I believe that communication is a key ingredient of success.  I explain to every athlete what the purpose of each training session is and why we’re doing it.

How do you continue to drive success with lower budgets?

Scrutinise all expenditure.  I weigh up the pros and cons of every cost and decide whether it will affect performance.  I’m a big fan of a book written by Olympic rower Ben Hunt-Davis called Will it make the boat go faster?  Will this money help us go faster?  I review which spend will give the biggest benefit.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

Rather than coaching someone towards a medal, I coach towards a performance.  We decide a time each athlete should achieve at the next games.  At the London Paralympic games I coached an athlete called Jon-Allan Butterworth to a silver medal.  Although he didn’t win the Gold, he hit his target.  You can’t control performance of others, you can only compete against yourself.

Can you tell us about what you do in a standard day?

British Para-Swimming is the number 1 funded Paralympic sport and number 11 overall lottery funded sport in the UK, so I don’t have a standard day!  I have a team of 25 and have to co-ordinate them.  I need to check performance, set challenges and make sure we have shared goals by managing a budget of £11m over 4 years.

Which other sports do you enjoy watching?

Obviously Cycling which I was involved in for 13 years.  I enjoy Cricket and I’m a Shrewsbury Town FC fan!

Who is your sporting hero?

Chris Boardman.  He was my hero and then my mentor.


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