European Coaches Invited To Launch First Of WSCA’s Continental Branches In Glasgow

World Swimming Association

The World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) is to create continental branches of the organisation, European mentors the first to be invited to raise regional profiles and the coach voice at a meeting in Glasgow next week.

The first regional branch of the global body, to be known as ‘WSCA-E’, will be created during the European Short-Course Championships run by LEN, the European Swimming League, from Wednesday to Sunday, December 4-8.

In its invitation to European coaches, WSCA explains: “The WSCA has a remit to serve and work for coaches across the globe but can only do this effectively through the creation of such branches.”

European coaches had previously been organised under the WSCA banner, current head coach to Australia, Dutchman Jacco Verhaeren, leading successful protests against shiny suits with fellow mentors on the deck at the European short-course championships in Rijeka in 2009. The group did not hold together, a source reminded Swimming World, on many other issues, too many said to have feared consequences if they were seen to fall out of step with the approach of their national federation answering to FINA.

The meeting to form the new unit will take place after heats on Friday December 6, a timely moment in the inaugural International Swimming League season, with more calendar challenges and demands on swimmers ahead, for coaches to gather and debate issues from their profession’s perspective.

Dr Jon Rudd, Vice-President WSCA, the coach behind the success stories of the likes of Ruta Meilutyte and Ben Proud and now head of performance for Swim Ireland, said that the meeting would “allow coaches from across Europe who are in Glasgow for the 2019 LEN European SC Championships to … provide their views on how and why the branch should be formulated.”

Coaches need not be attending the championships as official team staff members in order to attend the WSCA meeting. Said Rudd:

“The aims of WSCA-E are likely to include the following, particularly for those coaches who reside and work in a European nation where there is not an independent National Coaches Association in place:

  • Represent the interests of Europe’s swimming coaches with other national and international bodies or organisations, including LEN
  • Provide leadership and assistance in the sport of swimming and swimming coaching, through the cooperation, collaboration and confrontation with other interest groups
  • Encourage, develop and educate swimming coaches
  • Encourage and promote swimming competition throughout Europe, competition which is free of drugs, doping or any other method of illegal/unethical performance enhancement
  • Establish and safeguard the status, welfare and interests of all members
  • Provide continual recognition for outstanding performances of athletes, coaches within the sport of swimming
  • Assist all European National Swimming Coaches Associations, or similar national organisations within Europe, in developing swimming in those member nations through international cooperation and goodwill

A Draft Constitution will be available for consideration at the meeting, to be held from noon on Friday December 6, with complimentary lunch, at the following venue:

Function Suite (Velodrome View)
Emirates Arena & Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
1000 London Road
Glasgow G40 3HG, Scotland

(The venue is less than two miles and an 8-minute taxi ride from the competition pool).

WSCA registered a new organisation, the World Swimming Association, in the past Olympic cycle, as a counter to what it described as “the poor governance of FINA” at international level. The purpose of the WSA was to create an alternative constitution and rules that place athletes’ interests above all other issues and “show FINA what it ought to be doing to reform itself into an organisation fit for there 21st Century”.

In reference to a 2015 attempt by coaches around the world to have FINA enter a dialogue with its stakeholders and accept that not had to reform, WSA’s mantra reflects the lack of any response from the international federation:

“The Olive Branch was offered. replacement is the only option if swimming is to set a new course.”