SWIMNEWS ONLINE: August 1998 Magazine Articles

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Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions. Contributions are welcome.Now for the rumours behind the news.


Swim Saskatchewan Appointment

Marjorie Walton has been appointed Executive Director of Swim Saskatchewan Inc. Raised in Regina she swam with the Regina Optimist Dolphin Swim Club until 1979. Following completion of her education in business administration she worked in Alberta for five years. She has been involved in the swimming community in various capacities. With 13 years of administrative experience, her multiple skills and background will prove invaluable in her new position. Marj will commence her duties on September 14.

Overcomes Trauma

Scott Goodman, Commonwealth 200 butterfly record holder who was dramatically disqualified on the blocks in the final at the Perth World Championships, has rejoined the Australian Institute of Sport swim team after staying well clear of the sport for seven months.

Goodman, a career swimmer, was so severely traumatised when disqualified in Perth that he was unable to handle a situation in which the centre of his whole existence was shattered in a matter of less than a second. The spectators and television audience were stunned to see the 24-year-old athlete hurl a chair across the pool deck and stomp out of the pool in an obviously shattered state.

The only swimmer from Tasmania at the 1996 Olympic Games where he won the bronze medal in the 200 butterfly, Goodman has rejoined the squad under former Canadian coach, Jim Fowlie.

Not having swum in the final of the World Championships and being absent from the 1998 Commonwealth Games Trials, Scott Goodman is sorely missed from the national team in the two most important meets in preparation for the Sydney Olympics. Undoubtedly an athlete of great talent, his comeback will be watched with great interest.


I would like to express my opinion on the matter of coach vs Board of Directors. I am a 17-year-old coach for the Saskatoon Goldfins Olympic Way program. I am about to complete my NCCP Level 1 and hope to someday coach elite age group or senior swimmers. I am wondering whether coaching is actually a job I would like to pursue. The possibilty of being fired without warning hangs over every coach.

Though I am young to coaching, I have already heard of many coaches being fired for questionable reasons. I have always been quite vocal on the subject but hearing about two successful coaches being fired at the same time has provoked me to write this letter.

The firing of Clifford Barry from Etobicoke Swimming and Janusz Kaczmarek from the Saskatoon Goldfins were both surprising to me. Clifford Barry has coached hundreds of high-level swimmers and has led teams to many top five finishes and he gets fired because of one poor nationals. Janusz Kaczmarek's career with the Goldfins was short, but in two years many dedicated swimmers have improved their performances. Unfortunately, many of the Goldfin swimmers aren't very dedicated and do not understand the value of hard work, so he gets fired because they complain he's working them too hard. A few parents complain and the coach is out the door.

I believe coaches need to hear from every swimmer, young and old, and attempt to resolve any problems. The coach should work towards resolving any problems, adjusting his coaching style if needed. Dismissal should only be considered if problems and bad performances continue. Some say a swim club is like a business with shareholders (the parents) and employees (coaches). However, you can have a swim club with only coaches, but you can't have a swim club with just a Board of Directors.

Kevyn Coulman,
Saskatoon, SK


I regret that Steve Goodwin from Etobicoke Swimming took my comments regarding coaching dismissals as a personal attack against my previous employer. It was not meant to be a cheap shot against Etobicoke Swimming. After a lot of fun and a lot of international success, it was time for me to find new challenges in my life. So thank you, Etobicoke. However, my comments still stand. How many teachers or public servants could withstand the pressures of coaching or working directly for a board of parents whose children they teach?

In coaching, having a normal family life is out of the question. Long-term benefits are non-existent and reaching international status means that you get to spend your precious holidays coaching, only to start the season all over again.

Sport today is not a pretty place. Results are what count. The ends justify the means. Developing well-balanced individuals with good values is less important than winning. It's unfortunate that swimming has become all too serious, because in the long run we are all going to lose.

Clifford Barry
Mississauga, ON


I can only hope that Maritime Life executives were busy on Sunday, August 9, so they didn't have to view the CBC's coverage of the Maritime Life Summer Nationals and Commonwealth Games Trials. Maritime Life's support of swimming is commendable; CBC's disservice to swimming is deplorable.

We considered arranging for many young swimmers to gather and watch some of their team members on television. It is certainly motivational for young swimmers to watch and recognize that hard work, commitment, and time management can result in a place in the finals at Summer Nationals. We were prepared to explain to them to watch carefully because announcers never announce the full field of 8, the results are never on the screen for more than a nano-second, but you may see your teammate in a lane. We would also prepare them to hear a lot about the veterans who were swimming and little about the upcoming younger swimmers.

Fortunately we were not able to arrange for our young swimmers to gather as a team to watch, thank goodness. Who would have guessed that:

It was nice to see Curtis Myden swim, but what a choice of events-CBC decides to show none of his IM's but shows his full 200 breaststroke. One of the few swimmers west of Ontario to get any mention was Kelly Stephanyshyn, but to reach that pinnacle she had to break two Canadian records. Of course, as usual, we got to see all of Stephen Clarke's swims. Valuable TV time was spent analyzing his starts and stroke (is he related to the colour commentator?).

Ever heard of Mark Johnston, currently Canada's premier middle distance swimmer? He won only two golds, but you chose not to show either of his races (or even parts of them). Is this his penalty for leaving Ontario and coming to B.C.?

By the way, Canadian swimming is dominated by B.C., Alberta, and Manitoba swim clubs, as well as B.C. and Alberta universities at the CIAU level, and nothing the CBC attempts to do will change that fact.

Take a tip from athletics-all finalists are introduced, all results are given, technical tips are given during a race and do not take up precious time when we can see athletes competing.

I repeat, Maritime Life has done a lot for swimming. CBC in 90 minutes was an embarrassment to the swimming world and Canadian sports coverage.

Lawrie Johns
Fan of swimming, no thanks to CBC
Richmond, B.C.


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