University of Pretoria, American Swimming Coaches Association Formalize an Educational Agreement

PRETORIA, South Africa, May 15. AFTER many months of working on the systems and programs to be offered, a final agreement between the University of Pretoria and the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) has been reached regarding the inclusion of the ASCA Swimming Coaching Accreditation system and materials into the Tuks Bachelors programs for B(Sports Science) and BA(Human Movement Sciences), as well as a continued education system for the TuksSwimming coaching staff.

The University of Pretoria's department of Biokinetics, Sport and Leisure Sciences along with TuksSport and the TuksSwimming club is committed to investing in their students and coaches through establishing quality education programs for all and ensuring that all are appropriately qualified and internationally recognized when they graduate.

The University of Pretoria, its swimming staff, academic staff and management have used the ASCA materials in a pilot project over the past 12 months. Tuks coaches were accredited by ASCA. Two coaches, Igor Omeltchenko (Head Coach) and Steven Ball, obtained Level 5 accreditation, which is the highest level of qualification within the ASCA structures. Larry Laursen (Tuks Swimming Technical consultant) and World Swimming Coaches Association Board member provides the club with advise and a wealth of experience, and also holds a Level 5 qualification. This shows coaches that have the appropriate level of education and experience in working with and coaching of international swimmers, and this is backed by a legacy of performance. At TuksSwimming the coaching staff has a combined total of over 94 years of experience at Regional, National and International levels.

ASCA's program was chosen because it has the academic AND practical program with deliverables, controls, follow-up and continued education emphasis to be THE program which the University of Pretoria would like to embed into its practical curriculum of Sports Education for swimming coaches. ASCA acknowledges the standard of education, reputation, expertise and experience at the University of Pretoria. This agreement sees the University of Pretoria becoming the first university internally to fully integrate the ASCA swimming coaching material within their formalized degree and certificate programs. The University of Pretoria is recognized for initiatives such as these, whereby they look to provide internationally recognized and modern sport relevant technical additions to their students' and coaches' education. This can be seen in relationships already established with various other international sporting federations and organizations, such as the Golf PGA and NSCA program.

TuksSport (TuksSwimming) is committed to educating our coaches, swimmers and parents and the greater swimming community and supports all initiatives that Swimming South Africa have planned and will implement in the future and all work done through our education programs will be aligned with the requirements of the national body.

Through this unique working relationship with ASCA the University will provide exceptional swimming coaching education to its students and interested outsiders. Academic education and appropriately applied practical training, gained in an environment where Olympians are training with professional coaches, will produce graduates with the expertise and experience to immediately be full members of the coaching profession. It remains the aim of the University of Pretoria to contribute to and provide relevant opportunities for the development of coach education locally, nationally and to our friends in Southern Africa countries whose swimmers are already part of our high performance swimming program.

"The American Swimming Coaches Association is very pleased and excited to be part of the development of a world-leading collaboration with the University of Pretoria and Tuks Sport to provide world-class coaching education in a unique model that blends academic expertise, practical coaching and world class high performance sport.

We see the ASCA contribution as providing the structure and content of the best coaching education program in the world, on a practical basis, to enhance the existing academic program at University of Pretoria. We look forward to being a part of the continuing education program for coaches that can be developed by TUKS and the University to enrich the context of coaching performance in swimming.

World class athletes deserve world class coaching and the vision of the University to combine academics, practical coaching education both initially in a degree program and in an on-going basis for life-long coaching development, in the same setting as a high performance center, is, in my view, unique and world-leading. Additionally, all athletes of all levels benefit from the delivery of improved quality coaching. The impact of improved coaching will reach all athletes, from developmental to elite. The opportunities for both coaches and athletes to benefit from this partnership are enormous, and the brilliance of the University vision, led by Kobus Van der Walt and his team, is unsurpassed by any University in the world.

It is a privilege and a thrill to see this program get off the ground and gain momentum. The American Swimming Coaches Association looks forward to a permanent partnership with the University of Pretoria to enrich this program and make it a model for real coach education around the world. Today is a great step forward towards the achievement of that goal and my congratulations go to Kobus and his team for making it happen" – John Leonard, Executive Director, American Swimming Coaches Association.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World Magazine. It has been posted in its entirety without editing. Swimming World offers all outlets the chance to reach our audience by contacting us at Newsmaster@swimmingworldmagazine.com. However, Swimming World reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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