Important Notice from SWIM Schools Austrailia

Obviously, the wonderful performances in the pool at the 19th FINA World Championships, Budapest and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is front and centre. Being the most successful Olympic sport in Australia is no accident. Our affinity with the water is second to none. Still importantly, a key contributor to this success has been the work SWIM Coaches & Teachers Australia has done over the past 51 years with Swimming Australia and the State and Territory Swimming Associations to educate, develop, inspire, recognise and celebrate the coaches and teachers who have consistently delivered some of the best and most iconic swimmers in the world. Congratulations to all the athletes and coaches on team.

We are incredibly proud to have been involved in so many fantastic initiatives and successes over the past six months. Our whole team continually strive to provide the best possible service and experience for everyone in our community and we have all been extremely busy. So much so, it’s hard not to get caught up in the positives.

We have successfully nominated our coaches for Swimming Australia Life Membership for the last four years, with Laurie Lawrence, Jan Cameron OAM, Dawn Fraser AC, Harry Gallagher OAM and Bill Sweetenham AM all celebrated for their achievements and dedication to swimming. Recognition of coaches and teachers is at our very core. It is something we promote and celebrate from our Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond Teacher Recognition to our Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Coach Recognition to our annual coach and teacher awards, coach rings and presentation of high-quality bespoke watches to Olympic and Paralympic coaches.

Upgrading our existing course content is a priority for us. Over the coming months we will commence our new course layout and design for our SWIM Australia Teacher course and we will be shooting new video content for all our courses in the later part of 2022. After setting the bar for swim teacher blended learning over the past 4-5 years, we’re taking it to another level. Watch this space.

Our Levelling the Deck platform is gaining traction and attention. This is now being regarded as a model with other sports accessing and referring their community to it. Establishing our Women in Coaching committee is one of the outcomes from Levelling the Deck. The contribution and input from the outstanding individuals on this committee are already helping to shape our thinking and actions for the betterment of swimming in Australia. A refined strategy has been developed to target four key focus areas:

  1. Develop gender equality within individuals
  2. Drive gender equality across individuals
  3. Impact gender equality in workplaces and swimming spaces
  4. Influence gender equality in the swimming culture

Another outcome of this work is the development of an advocacy plan to use internally, externally and across other sports and at a government level.
The SWIM Jobs Victoria project is a massive undertaking for us. It is mission critical that we get this right and the team working on this project are so professional and simply amazing. The relationships being formed, the insights gained and the opportunity to stimulate the aquatic industry are profound. We are shifting Victoria’s employment paradigm and are sharing those learnings nationally. We are also engaging a workforce that is entirely new to swimming which enables lateral thinking and, in turn, is providing exposure of learn to swim to a broader and more diverse audience.

Our relationship with State Government also extends to collaborating with the Western Australia Education Department as their preferred supplier of swim teacher qualifications. We pride ourselves on being flexible and responsive. That has been a key to our recent successes in WA.

Our thanks go to SWIM It Forward campaign ambassador Elka Whalan (nee Graham) and SWIMSAFER week ambassador Giaan Rooney OAM. Thanks to Olympians Andrew Lauterstein and Matt Welsh OAM for their supporting on-camera roles during the SWIM It Forward event on World Drowning Prevention Day and for being such strong advocates for us. The SWIM It Forward and SWIM Safer week 2022 initiatives are supported in partnership with PJ Masks. We have seen mind-blowing increases in engagement and uptake since our partnership commenced in 2021. We’ve just been notified that we are finalists in the International Safety Awards for SWIM Safer 2021 and will find out if we are successful at the end of November. We’ve also engaged with New Zealand for 2022 as we extend our partnership with SWIM Coaches & Teachers New Zealand and Water Safety New Zealand. We’re excited to see how far we can take this across the Tasman.

We continue to provide essential support for coaches, teachers and swim schools including complaints management, advice, education, information on COVID matters and assistance with industrial relations aspects. For some in our community, there is a lack of understanding of what we do and how you benefit. We’ve beefed up our Membership team to deliver more relevant benefits and will proactively engage with members over the next quarter. In many respects you don’t need us until you do. And then you really need us!

One significant area for improvement and opportunity is our relationship with Swimming Australia. There are many ways we can add value, and we really want to. We are one of nine Member Associations within the federated model with typical AGM voting rights including Swimming Australia Board Directors and Constitutional changes.

However, over the past five years, decisions have been made which have unfortunately   had a negative impact on SWIM Coaches & Teachers Australia. Despite the withdrawal of all funding from Swimming Australia, SWIM Coaches & Teachers Australia is a thriving fully independent organisation which is self-funded and we have achieved this without any significant increase in membership fees or detriment to our members.

We have continued to grow. We are thriving and succeeding across all areas of our business. These challenges have allowed us to take a more active advocacy role on behalf of all members, not only with government but also with Swimming Australia. We constantly act on feedback and suggestions from members and absolutely encourage anyone to reach out for support or with ideas on issues and improvements that can be made across our industry.

Our move onto Swim Central with Swimming Australia resulted in our access to our member information unfortunately decrease. We now have a new member database which has been specifically built to allow easier access and functionality for our community. This fully integrated membership database and learning management system is being upgraded over the coming months for an even better user experience and will be complemented by SWIM Connect which will also be enhanced with significant benefits for all.

We are delighted with the positive feedback on our rebranding. This resonates so well with our community, the public and the media. We’re still in the process of changing all content. You’ll also start to see new and refreshed on-line content from us very soon.

We have had an excellent relationship with the Swimming Australia High Performance team and have completed significant work together to benefit coaches. We seek to have the same strong relationship  with the Swimming Australia Coach Development team and despite our persistent attempts we have not been  engaged on anything meaningful for the last few years. Unfortunately,  the number of coaching courses run by Swimming Australia has dwindled significantly, impacting on career progress and wage increases for coaches. We have also been unable to secure Swimming Australia to host coach education (Development, Advanced and Performance) at SWIMCON22.

Therefore, we are excited to announce that we are taking coach education to the next level with a suite of new coaching courses which are nationally recognised VET qualifications. The course pilots will launch at SWIMCON22 Unleashed on the Gold Coast in September and for the first time, swim coaches will have an opportunity to be recognised with Certificates at level II, III, IV and Diploma by completing swim coach related education. Stay tuned for more information including enrolment details.

We look forward to bringing our community together again for the first time since May 2019 (three and a half years!) for SWIMCON22. Register now for a wide selection of courses, our golf tournament, swim school tour, relevant topics from excellent presenters, awe-inspiring awards, top notch networking functions and a wide array of exhibitors. On behalf of the Board and staff, we can’t wait to see you all at SWIMCON22 on the Gold Coast.

Your continued support allows us to support you!

Joanne Love, President and Brendon Ward, Chief Executive Officer

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