BELCONNEN, Australia, February 26. SWIMMING Australia is pleased to announce former Australian Swim Team member and current high performance coach Ron McKeon as the new National Open Water Coach and Performance Manager.
With over 30 years of professional experience working across swimming and Surf Life Saving in Australia, McKeon has a wealth of knowledge and experience to deliver Swimming Australia international success in Open Water.
As a member of the Australian Swim Team for 10 years, representing the country at two Commonwealth Games (1978 and 1982) and two Olympic Games (1980 and 1984), McKeon has a first-hand understanding of what it takes to be an elite level swimmer.
Following on from his success in the pool, McKeon turned his attentions to coaching when from 1984-1986 he held a position as a scholarship coach at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
From Canberra he moved to Wollongong and in 1990 took up the position as a Director and Head Coach at McKeon Swim School in Wollongong – a position that he still holds today.
Until recently McKeon was the Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association (ASCTA) President and has been a long standing board member for both ASCTA and Swimming Australia since the late 1990s. McKeon’s pedigree across all facets of swimming in Australia made his skill set hard to look past.
Swimming Australia’s Director of High Performance Michael Scott said McKeon was well respected within the swimming community and his expertise of the sport will be a huge asset to the open water program.
“Ron’s insight into the daily training and competition environment will be of great value when developing our open water program to nurture our athletes to achieve notable successes in the 10km at the Olympic Games and beyond,” said Scott.
Vital to the programs progression is Swimming Australia’s partnership with Surf Life Saving Australia and with McKeon having competed in numerous Surf Life Saving championships during his time as a swimmer, his empathy with both swimming codes is crucial in fostering this relationship.
“With Ron’s knowledge of elite performance and his credibility within Australian Swimming, he’s the ideal person to take the sport to the next level,” said Scott.
The Wollongong based coach has a significant history of placing athletes on teams at major competitions, including Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Short Course, Junior Pan Pacific Championships, World University Games as well as the Youth Olympic and Commonwealth Games Festivals.
Along with his pool credentials which saw his children David and Emma represent Australia at the FINA World Championships last year, McKeon’s open water coaching abilities are evident through 19-year-old Jarrod Poort, who after qualifying for the 1500m freestyle at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has successfully made the transition from pool to open water swimming.
In 2013 Poort took the national 5km open water title and went on to finish just outside the medal positions in both the individual and team 5km events, finishing fifth and fourth respectively in Barcelona.
Already this year, Poort has once again proved his potential, stepping up to take top spot and dual Australian titles in the men’s 5 and 10km events.
McKeon said he was excited to join Swimming Australia in this capacity, and by the opportunity to help take the lead with Open Water swimming in Australia.
“I’m really excited by this opportunity, and looking forward to working with Michael Scott and the Swimming Australia High Performance team to further develop the open water program,” said McKeon.
“You only have to look at the huge numbers of people involved in ocean swimming over the summer, and our strong surf lifesaving culture, to realise that open water swimming is in our DNA and an event we can really excel in. I’m looking forward to working with the coaches and athletes to continue to do just that.”
McKeon will officially start in the role on March 17th and will look to take a team to the Pan Pacific Championships, on the Gold Coast, in August 2014.
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