A new high-performance swimming program will add another string to the University of Canberra's bow in its bid to be a world leader in sport.
Coaching great Tracey Menzies will be unveiled as the head coach of the newly-launched University of Canberra swim club at the AIS Pool on Thursday morning.
The program will largely be run out of the AIS in a boost for the sport's footprint at the institute after Swimming Australia axed their national training centre transition program in Canberra.
University of Canberra's head of sport Carrie Graf headhunted Menzies for the role given she steered Ian Thorpe to gold in the 200 metre and 400m freestyle events at the 2004 Olympic Games.
The club is set to offer high level swimming coaching across a range of disciplines including elite swimming, water polo, triathlon, open water and surf competition to both students and the wider community.
Menzies will also provide water safety awareness programs to the university's international students.
"It’s a program we can grow and develop which is exciting. That’s what I am really excited about, this is something that has a lot of potential," Menzies said.
"It’s not just for swimming, it’s for water polo, surf swimming, for a whole range of different athletes. What we want to try to do is encourage people to stay in the sport of swimming, whether its leisure or high performance.
"We want to try to cover the needs of kids when they hit 17 and they don’t stay in the sport, we’re trying to keep kids in the sport, trying to work towards the university games.
"That would be our big milestone for a lot of these athletes, to go to University Games and then World Uni Games."
Super Rugby's ACT Brumbies and reigning WNBL champions the Canberra Capitals have long had a home at the university, while W-League club Canberra United shifted to the Bruce campus last year.
The influx of elite clubs using the Bruce campus has reignited the university's plans to house $46 million worth of facilities designed to turn the university into a national leader on the sporting front.
The move is dependent on funding and infrastructure is crucial to the university's plan to position itself as Australia's leading sports institution.
The high-performance teams have access to the university's sports science, gym and recovery facilities. The university's influence on elite clubs has Menzies "excited about what the future holds".
"One thing important to me is life balance, making sure these athletes aren’t just good athletes - but they’re good people," Menzies said.
"A massive bonus for me would be to see they still love the sport, and they’re still achieving their academic pursuits. That’s really important, they need to be whole people. Sport is part of what we do but it’s not all of what we do."
It comes after the university struck a landmark partnership with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to strengthen the latter's "world-leading, cutting-edge science department".