Inaugural Oceania development workshop a great success

Development News

Representatives from all member federations of the Oceania Swimming Association, plus associate members Hawaii and New Caledonia, completed an intensive three-day development workshop in Nadi, Fiji last week.

Setting the scene on Day 1 was OSA Executive Board Member and long time swimming coach and administrator, Bill Sakovich, who addressed delegates on "Issues and Challenges facing Aquatics Development in Oceania".

Then, all member federations delivered presentations on their structures, operations and challenges they faced. Later in the day presentations were given on the FINA Development Program and Olympic Solidarity.

To start off Day 2, the Ligue Caledonienne de Natation was also given the opportunity to update delegates on preparations for the IX Oceania Swimming Championships which will be held in Noumea, New Caledonia from 28 May to 2 June this year.

Then presentations on "Strategic Planning" by Papua New Guinea Swimming and "Restructuring a National Federation" by Fiji Swimming generated quite a lot of discussions amongst delegates.

Tom Avischious, USA Swimming's Field Services Director, then provided some excellent information on resources available via on coach education and club development.

Inaugural Oceania development workshop a great success

Sainimili Talatoka from the Oceania National Olympic Committee's Oceania Sport Education Program (OSEP) then informed delegates on work being done through the program which was aimed at upskilling sports administrators, coaches and event organisers at the community level in the Pacific Islands region. It was clear that there are opportunities for development of a partnership between the OSA and the OSEP.

To close the day, Lawrie Cox from Swimming Australia presented on Opportunities for Development of Technical Officials in Oceania.

The morning of Day 3 was set aside to wrap up the workshop and to draw up some achievable objectives for the short and medium terms. A full report is being compiled but common themes that came out of discussions included:

- Better use of available resources, particularly using information via the internet, but also through Olympic Solidarity and the FINA Development Program

- Coach Development, taking advantage of available programs, including FINA's Coach Accreditation Framework, and working towards a mentoring program between island federations and more advanced swimming nations

- The need to formalise Learn to Swim Programs in all member federations, adapting the example of successful programs in New Zealand and Australia

- Athlete Development pathways and using appropriate levels of competition, particularly those events already on the swimming calendar in the region

- Facilities: While recognising that while OSA itself was limited in its ability to deliver facility development in the region, there are possibilities for providing technical assistance to federations in this area.