Swimming WA held its second Regional Development Weekend this time in the Great Southern on the 3rd and 4th December 2022 at the newly refurbished Mount Barker Memorial Swimming Pool and club rooms. Although the weather wasn’t kind to us, all participants had a great time and received some special gifts for coming along.
The morning started with a short presentation by Sophie Row, Swimming WA’s CEO for the club committee members across the region which centered around how to be a great leader and how to help your club with good governance. Kaye Bolger, WA’s Chief Referee joined us for a Technical Officials development workshop which focused on the positions of Starter, Inspector of Turns and Judge of Stroke. It was great to see so many new faces attend this workshop, it can be hard to get engagement in the regions, but this new crop of up and coming TO’s are passionate and we look forward to seeing them on pool deck very soon! The small group environment allowed for interactive discussions, including Kaye sharing some of her various experiences officiating around the country and showing the group videos.
The Coach/Teacher workshop was an opportunity for the regional Coaches and Teachers to workshop ideas for the upcoming season with our metro coach, and ASCTA WA President Ralph McManis. This included discussions on some of the specific challenges that the region faces such as travel lengths, outdoor pools and the clashes with other country town sports. The networking opportunity these development weekends creates is invaluable and the crossover with learnings from regional and metro clubs only helps to grow our sport.
We had 29 athletes also join Ralph for a Swim Clinic, braving some of the cooler conditions early on but thankfully the sun came out towards the end of the session. Ralph started with a talk to get to know the athletes, before leading a warmup and getting into some technique drills focusing on how to maximize efficiency and getting the most out of your body. The session finished with some dive training using a piece of technology called Autocoach which the majority of participants had never seen before. The local coaches shadowed Ralph and assisted in the delivery of this swim clinic, learning some tips and tricks to get the most out of their swimmers.
As we braved the Mount Barker drizzle early Sunday morning everyone came together to finish with an Officials mentoring session and a time trial event. Running a smaller, official event gave the up and coming TO’s an opportunity to train and get some pointers without feeling the pressure of larger meets in the city. With the changes to the competition structure, it was a great chance to see what is involved in making events official and how important it is to work together for the betterment of the region. Some of the swimmers had never swum in any competition before so it was a great opportunity to swim for their club in an environment that wasn’t too overwhelming and focused on fun. As a result, we had 37 Personal Bests achieved by the cohort that attended the time trial which is a phenomenal effort and a reflection of the hard work and training that is done within the Great Southern region.
A huge thank you to Mount Barker Amateur Swim Club who put on a delicious sausage sizzle and soup station for our participants as well ongoing support from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.