OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, August 27. AN article on SwimInfo last week by two-time US Olympian and team co-captain Josh Davis drew a lot of e-mail response.
Josh had pointed out that many of the top foreign (i.e., non-US) Olympians were trained in the United States. This year, for example, Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry (Auburn); Germany's Anne Poleska (Alabama); Croatia's Duje Draganja (Cal); Roland Schoeman, Ryk Neethling and Lyndon Ferns, three-fourths of South Africa's winning free relay; Austria's Markus Rogan (Stanford); Tunisia's Ous Mellouli (USC), and many others. He suggested that these athletes express their appreciation to the United states as well as their US coaches and universities. (And, in fact, many of them have done just that.)
The response to this suggestion was decidedly mixed, with some readers agreeing whole-heartedly, others denouncing his nationalism, and still others pointing out that the relationship is one in which everyone wins — the athletes get a good education and the advantages of top-notch training; the coaches and their institutions enhance their reputations through the contributions made by foreign athletes.
Now, Cecil Colwin — renowned South African and Canadian coach and swimming's foremost historian — has written a letter to the web site of the American Swimming Coaches Association praising a long tradition of American coaches, starting with Louis DeB. Handley a century ago, through today's publishers and editors of Swimming World magazine, "for their unselfish contributions in sharing swimming knowledge and expertise to the whole world of swimming.'