Dear Sports Editor,
I am writing this letter to you as I was made aware of a decision made by the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) that baffles me on many fronts. The Guyana Amateur Swimming Association Council made a decision that would make a terrible precedent in Olympic Coach Selection in Guyana.
One male swimmer and one female swimmer were selected to represent Guyana at the Olympic Games in London this year; both of those swimmers were taught how to swim and are currently being coached by the same coach. This coach has won a national award for her dedication to the development of swimming and numerous other awards from the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association and the National Sports Commission over the years. This year strange movements were made to ensure that she was not given an opportunity to continue coaching the swimmers, and as of yesterday another coach has taken over the coaching for the next three weeks and travel to the Olympic Games.
Firstly, such a decision should not be decided upon emotion or personality especially since the coach being side-stepped is of high regard and has very high moral standards; it should be decided based on pre-established criteria. To put such technical decisions to the hands of an Executive Committee (Council) with less than fifty percent of persons with no technical knowledge of swimming as a sport and even less in coaching issues (which includes the President) is a dreadful mistake.
Politics as you know is highly entrenched in sport in Guyana and it is partly for that reason that I am no longer a part of the administration of swimming; long gone are the days when the Swimming association would win awards at the prestigious annual National Sports Awards.
As immediate past Vice President (Technical) I warned the President of GASA that putting such a biased system of Coach Selection in place would create a terrible precedent in Coach Selection. I went on to advise him that while I was Vice President (Technical) I impressed on the importance of the national team’s Head Coach being from the club from which the most swimmers were selected to the national team. If there is need for an Assistant Coach then that should come from the club producing the second highest number of swimmers. This is the most un-biased means of making the selection of a National Coach.
Furthermore, the Technical Committee should be able to make a recommendation of just one person be the Coach. But in this situation the person who wants to travel is also in charge of the Technical Committee.
Ultimately, GASA has allowed a Coach to travel with swimmers who he has never trained for a prolonged period. This will cause certain decisions regarding the planning, training, meals, medication and therapy, massage, activity and rest during the competition to be the taken without properly knowing the individual swimmers.
Sports Administration and Coaching are much more than getting your turn to take a trip; it is hard work which takes much time and dedication especially at the international level. Parents, coaches and sportspersons need to make those in charge of their sport know that they really serve the sport and not themselves.
“Words can sting like anything, but silence breaks the heart” – Phyllis McGinley.
Thank you for your time and support in the promotion of sport.
Yours in Sport,
Nicholas Fraser, BSc
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