Australian swim coach Joanne Love (L) giving instructions to participants at the ISB swimming pool yesterday. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
BY YEE CHUN LEONG
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - EXPERIENCED Australian swim coaches Joanne Love and Haydn Belshaw kicked off the OzSwim Brunei swim programme yesterday.
They started by working with 14 participants from across Brunei and Labuan to develop competitive swim coaching techniques at the International School Brunei (ISB) Sports Complex. As stated in a press release from the Australian High Commission, the workshop yesterday also satisfies the Australia Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) ‘Teacher of Competitive Swimming’ practical training requirements – which means that the participants now have the option of converting the day’s activity into an internationally recognised qualification.
Today will see over 40 teachers from both government and international schools attend a day-long workship on ‘Learn to Swim’ teaching techniques.
Despite only having been in Brunei for a short period time, Love is delighted to be in the country and helping out with the programme.
“We were invited to Brunei by the Australian High Commission to lift the level and create awareness of swimming in Brunei,” said Love in an interview yesterday.
“It’s to give something back to the Brunei people and help them progress through swimming.
“We’ve only been here for a short while, but it is nice and the weather is great. The people are lovely and all the staff have made us feel very welcome.
“The facilities are very good and are on par with a lot of schools in Australia or better.
“Around 60 participants is a great number, and that is similar to what we get in Australia – where there is a bigger population,” continued Love, who has over 30 years of experience and coached the Australian national team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Belshaw, meanwhile, was pleased with the interactivity of the participants and stressed on the importance of learning to swim.
“The enthusiasm and questions they are asking is what we are after,” said former Fiji national coach Belshaw.
“They start the conversation and it is not just about us giving all the information... It is about them sharing ideas as well.
“It is a good opportunity and avenue for us to come over and raise awareness (of swimming) and safety.
“It is a concern with the number of people who are unaware and not confident in swimming at all.
“It is great to have ISB looking after us and providing us the facilities and place to do this.
“We also want to thank the Australian High Commission and ISB staff in helping bring this together. Without both this wouldn’t have happened,” he concluded.
Belshaw has coached competitive swimmers for nearly 20 years, and has mentored at both the national and state level competitions in both the pool and open water.
Students will join a squad training day tomorrow and the Gala day at the ISB swimming pool tomorrow and Friday.
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times