The 2017 championships opened with a record-setting performance in the 800-meter free relay.
The North Carolina State men’s swimming and diving team had a blistering start to the 2017 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships Wednesday night, taking the title in the 800 freestyle relay after dominating the race. The Championships, co-hosted by Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and Indiana Sports Corp., will run inside the IU Natatorium through Saturday.
The team of Ryan Held, Andreas Vazaios, Justin Ress and Soren Dahl finished nearly three seconds ahead of the competition with a time of 6:06.53 to break the NCAA and U.S. Open records. The performance also breaks the ACC, pool, meet and school records.
his marks the second relay NC State has won historically–the first was won at last year’s Championships in the 400 free relay.
Additionally, Held’s lead-off split of 1:31.37 stands as a new ACC and school record in the 200 free.
A recent epidemiological study investigates the link between autism and mortality.
A recent study investigating injury mortality in people with autism spectrum disorders delivers some surprising and disturbing results. According to the authors, swimming lessons for children with an autism diagnosis should be a priority.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by a difficulty with social interactions, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors. They are estimated to affect around 1 in 68 children.
Above and beyond the symptoms of ASD, individuals with a diagnosis have substantially shorter lives; they die, on average, 36 years earlier than the general population at an average age of 36, compared with 72.
Although the reduced lifespan of individuals with ASD has previously been noted, little research has specifically investigated data regarding injury mortality.
A group of researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York undertook an epidemiological study to fill this gap in our understanding. Led by Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology, the team delved into data from the United States National Vital Statistics System. In all, they screened 32 million death certificates.
Autism epidemiology data
They identified 1,367 individuals with an ASD diagnosis who died between 1999 and 2014, comprising 1,043 males and 324 females.
The data showed that the annual number of deaths for people with an ASD diagnosis had risen nearly sevenfold in the 15 years from 1999 to 2014.
Dr. Li, who is the founding director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia, said of the results: “Despite the marked increase in the annual number of deaths occurring, autism-related deaths still may be severely underreported, particularly deaths from intentional injury such as assaults, homicide, and suicide.”
Of the registered deaths, 28 percent were due to injury, the most common of which was suffocation. This was followed by asphyxiation, then drowning. In fact, those three causes accounted for almost 80 percent of total injury mortality in children with ASD. More than 40 percent of these incidents occurred at home or in residential institutions.
The study’s findings, published this week in the American Journal of Public Health, are worrying:
“Our analysis reveals that children with autism are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as the general pediatric population. Given the exceptionally heightened risk of drowning for children with autism, swimming classes should be the intervention of top priority.” Dr. Guohua Li
Drowning and autism
When asked why drowning should be such a common cause of death for individuals with ASD, Dr. Li says: “With impaired communication and social skills, autistic kids tend to seek relief of their heightened anxiety from the serenity of water bodies. Unfortunately, this behavior too often leads to tragedies.”
Children are often diagnosed with ASD at the age of 2 or 3. At this point, Dr. Li says that “pediatricians and parents should immediately help enroll the child in swimming classes, before any behavioral therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy.” He continues: “Swimming ability for kids with autism is an imperative survival skill.”
Although the research used a great deal of data, there are some gaps in the results. Joseph Guan, the lead author and a student in epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, says: “Our study was limited to death certificate data. While the numbers are startling, autism as a contributing cause of death is likely undercounted because […] the accuracy of information on death certificates filed by coroners varies.”
Despite the shortfalls in the study’s data, the findings and conclusions are likely to influence recommendations for the parents of children with ASD. Something as simple as swimming lessons really could be a life-saver for some children.
In 2001, University of Georgia swimmer Maritza Correia made a deal with coach Jack Bauerle after the NCAA championships. Bauerle would allow her to swim the 50-yard freestyle and drop the 500 free under a few conditions.
Come 2002, Correia (now Maritza McClendon) got her wish. Then she won the 50 free at the SEC championships and at the NCAAs.
“Seeing the crowd kind of go crazy and Jack has his hands on his head and that face of ‘Oh my gosh, look at what you just did,’ said McClendon, who with her NCAA victory became the first black female swimmer to break an American record. “I was like does he get this excited when everybody wins a NCAA title?”
Starting with McClendon’s American record-breaking victory in the 50 free at NCAAs in 2002, a Bulldog male or female swimmer has captured an individual freestyle title in every year since.
That 15-year streak is now in jeopardy.
Last week at the NCAAs in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Bulldog women were not able to win any freestyle events, as Stanford’s Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel won all those events.
It will be up to the Georgia men to keep this streak going at the NCAA men’s championships starting Wednesday in Indianapolis. The men’s best chance of keeping this streak alive rests on freshman Walker Higgins’ shoulders. Higgins is seeded 16th in the 500 free.
“I like the fact that we’re at the high end of achievement there, that we’re winning and so many of our wins have happened over the last 10, 11 years too,” Bauerle said. “Makes me feel pretty proud that we’ve done something right.”
Bauerle held school records in distance freestyle events as a swimmer at Georgia, which gives him an understanding of what it takes to be a strong freestyler.
“Having great freestylers is a byproduct of wanting great athletes.” said Sheila Taormina, who won Georgia’s first Olympic medal, a gold, as a member of a 400 freestyle relay in 1996. “Jack himself is such a talented athlete, a coordinated athletic person. I don’t think they’re specifically teaching kids how to become great freestylers but they have great freestylers as a by product of they have great athletes.”
Georgia was not exceptionally great at freestyle for the first 20 years under Bauerle, who is in his 38th season of coaching the UGA women and 34th with the men. But that all changed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
How that trend has shifted may be a mystery to some. But consistency, coaching and recruiting changed all that.
Harvey Humphries, who works mainly with the distance freestyle swimmers, has been coaching at Georgia for 42 years. Brian Smith, who works with the sprint group, has been with the Bulldogs for 10 years.
“What I really think it is is consistency over a long period of time,” said Bob Bowman, 2016 U.S. Olympic head coach and Arizona State head coach. “Those staffs have not changed basically. That’s probably the key factor.”
The coaching staff at Georgia attracted Matias Koski, who became the only swimmer to win a NCAA individual title for the Bulldogs in 2015 in the 1,650 free.
“That was one of the major reasons in my decision because coming out of high school I was more of longer distance,” Koski said. “I knew that Harvey, he’s a notorious distance coach. He’s one of the best there is. I was really excited to work with Harvey and do that.”
Like McClendon, he evolved over time. Koski gravitated to middle-distance events toward the end of his time at Georgia.
Brittany MacLean, a NCAA champion in multiple freestyle events, was the opposite of Koski. She came to Georgia as a 200- or 400-free swimmer and left as a miler.
“It’s known to be a competitive [school] for freestyle so it attracts a lot of big-name freestylers,” MacLean, a Canadian, said of Georgia.
After swimmers such as McClendon and Kara Lynn Joyce won freestyle events at NCAAs, even more strong freestyle swimmers followed.
In the years that followed McClendon and Joyce, Olympic medalists and NCAA champions such as Allison Schmitt, Amanda Weir, Olivia Smoliga, and Melanie Margalis, to name a few, have been at Georgia and continued that streak.
“Once you start having those people then the other sprinters want to come swim with them and be part of it,” Bowman said. “I think it’s really a testament to his ability to bring in those kind of swimmers and then to develop them when they’re there.”
Having swimmers with an impressive range in freestyle events is crucial in regards to NCAA championships. There are three more individual freestyle events than any other stroke and every relay has a freestyle portion within the swim.
“Freestylers are the backbones,” Bauerle said.
Having more strong freestyle swimmers than can be allowed on one relay has been a common “problem” for Georgia throughout the years.
“I know that when I was at school, it was always hard to pick the 800 free relay (team),” said Schmitt, an NCAA freestyle individual champion and multiple Olympic medalist in freestyle events. “It was always hard to pick the 400 free relay because we had six to eight of the top freestylers.”
Being able to develop as a swimmer, work with elite coaches and swim next to some of the best swimmers in the country are likely reasons why the Bulldogs have been consistently great at freestyle swimming.
“You talk to one person like, ‘Hey, I have a high schooler who’s really good at freestyle, what school should I go to?’ McClendon said. “I can guarantee you like 90 percent of people are going to be like you should definitely check out Georgia because they’ve always been super strong in freestyle events.”
EP’s top swimmers Amica de Jager, Woodridge High School and Ian Venter, Pearson High School, completed the treble with wins this year in the NMBA 5km Champs, the SPAR River Mile and now the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge. (Oracle Media)
Mother nature smiled favourable upon the 115 swimmers who took part in Tuesday’s Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge at Pollok Beach. Near perfect beach conditions greeted the swimmers as the choppy water conditions from the day before’s onshore winds subsided throughout the morning swim. Africa’s toughest Indian Ocean Swim didn’t quite live us to its nasty reputation with warm and great swimming conditions favouring a fast swim with Pearson High School Head Boy Ian Venter finishing under the 1 hour mark to win the wetsuit category in a time of 58 minutes and 16 seconds with Swimsuit winner Daniel Jones finishing in 1 hour and 1 minute.
Legend South Africa swimmer Gary Albertyn from Pretoria was the 2nd swimsuit swimmer home just 18 seconds behind Jones with Byron Lockett grabbing 3rd place in the swimsuit category in 1hr 3minutes. Another swimming legend, Kevin Richards, finished 2nd in the wetsuit category in 1 hour and 45 seconds with triathlete Travis McGrath in 3rd place.
First of the ladies home was SPAR River Mile Champion, Amica de Jager, winning the wetsuit category in 1 hour 1 minute with Carmel Billson from Durban finishing in 2nd place in 1 hour 3 minutes and youngster Paige Black in 3rd place whilst Kirsten Marriott defended her swimsuit title in a time of 1hr 11 minutes ahead of Sanmari Woithe and Nikita Werthmann.
Nine swimmers earned their 5 year trophy and these included Chris Viljoen, Conal Turner, Gary Albertyn, JC van Wyk, Peter Mariott and Robert Geddes whilst the Bellbuoy Legends group of 5 local swimmers having done all 8 Bellbuoy races to date remains intact with Mary-Anne Stott, Ralph West, Richden Jute, Andre Kleynhans and Stanford Slabbert all finishing the race.
Gary Albertyn and Idelette Olivier won the 40 to 49 age group with Kevin Richards and Denise Bosman winning the 50 to 59 age group whilst Nigel Cones and Maria Stott won the 60 years and over category. Rolf Kordes at 77 years old was the oldest finisher with Paige Black at 14 years the youngest.4.
A huge thanks must go out to all the water safety volunteers, assisted by Caltex Eastern Cape, and the swimmers seconds who ensured everyone had a safe swim. Full results are available on www.bellbuoychallenge.co.za.
2017 Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge 5km Ocean Swim 21st March 2017 Pollok Beach, Port Elizabeth
Swim Suit Men 1 Daniel Jones (1:01:22); 2 Gary Albertyn (1:01:40); 3 Byron Lockett (1:03:06); 4 Haydn Holmes (1:04:18); 5 Slater Black (1:08:00); 6 Andrew Turner (1:09:33); 7 PJ Duffy (1:11:00); 8 M C Burri (1:12:53); 9 Greig Bannatyne (1:13:55); 10 Brendan Lock (1:14:10); 11 J C Van Wyk (1:16:46); 12 Iain Geddes (1:17:38); 13 Eben Haarhoff (1:19:38); 14 Barry Simon (1:19:53); 15 Hansjörg Jehle (1:20:07); 16 Markus Burri (1:21:19); 17 Greg Hough (1:21:41); 18 Nigel Cones (1:24:22); 19 Emil Hougaard (1:30:54); 20 Dieter Marais (1:30:58); 21 Jason Van Heerden (1:31:17); 22 Brenton Wiliams (1:31:30); 23 Robert Geddes (1:32:45); 24 Andrew Stewart (1:35:05); 25 Roberto Novello (1:36:07); 26 Peter Wakefield (1:43:16); 27 Andrew Van Gruting (2:21:36);
NANJING, CHINA. 21 August 2014. Youth Olympic Games taking place in Nanjing, China. Swimming. The last day of the dwimming event, but South Africa could not win any medals. (WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA)
Christopher Reid made a jump that few high school students would think about. At the age of 18, he decided to go half way around the world and attend the University of Alabama. He has made his mark on the team and has figured out how to be successful in a new country.
Reid left South Africa in 2014 after being named a Youth Olympic game finalist. He joined a Crimson Tide team that had made a huge jump from top 30 in the country to 12th in the country, since head coach Dennis Pursley took over.
“I followed my gut,” Reid said. “I saw that big jump, it showed the ball was rolling something was going right.”
Associate head coach Jonty Skinner was a big reason Reid decided to join the Crimson Tide. Reid felt that since Skinner is from South Africa, Skinner would understand Reid more than other coaches around the country.
When Pursley started the recruiting process for Reid, he was initially a distance swimmer. However, Pursley soon realized that Reid was much better in the short distance events.
Reid, now in his junior season, competes in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Unlike most of the swimmers on the team, he doesn’t train with his teammates in the same events. Instead, he mainly trains with the IM group still.
“He was doing so well in the group we decided to keep him in that group,” Pursley said. “It has worked out pretty well.”
Reid has thrived under the different training style. He has been the NCAA championship and the SEC championship every year since arriving at Alabama.
For swimmers, the biggest stage in the world is the Olympics. Every four years the best athletes in the world emerge to participate for their countries. Reid was one of these athletes who, donned his country’s colors to compete.
In the South African trials, Reid dominated, winning the 100-meter backstroke by three seconds and setting a school record in the 200-meter backstroke.
“It was a relief for me,” Reid said. “The older guys were always better than me. This was my first time back to race. A lot of those guys thought of me as the guy who was still kind of slow. It was like I finally made it.”
In the Olympics he competed in the 100-meter backstroke and finished 10th in the world.
“It was pretty cool, to be honest,” Reid said. “I try not to think about it because 10th is an accomplishment but I don’t feel that’s the best I can do. I just use it as a motivating factor.”
The Olympics has motivated him in his junior season. For the first time in his career, he won the 200 backstroke at the SEC championships, beating his teammate Connor Oslin. Reid’s time, 1:39.64, set a new school record.
“The moment I saw it [winning the race] I let all my emotions go,” Reid said. “I’ve been so close so many times. No one really thinks how hard it actually is to get a championship title. You lose your composure and just go nuts.”
However, even though he set his new career best, Reid believes he hasn’t even unlocked his true potential.
“The SECs was kind of a test run for NCAAs,” Reid said. “Going into the SECs I was thinking I just needed a time to be invited to NCAAs, but ended up swimming an automatic qualifying time. Now all I have to think about is what I have to do going into NCAAs.”
Alabama will compete in the NCAA Championships on March 22 at 10:50 a.m. CT.
Quah Zheng Wen (left) will go head-to-head with national team-mate and Olympic champion Joseph Schooling at the March 22-25 NCAA Div 1 swimming championships in Indiana.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO, ST FILE
Both Singapore’s top swimmers, Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen, will be entering this week’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Indiana with something to prove.
And the Republic’s national training centre head coach Gary Tan believes both Olympians will perform well amid fierce competition at the elite collegiate meet.
Quah, 20, will make his NCAA debut as a University of California, Berkeley freshman.
Said Tan: “I think Zheng has come a long way… I’ve known him since he was a young kid; he’s never shied away from any pressure around him and I think he’ll relish the challenge more than anything else.
“I’m interested to see how he stacks up against the other guys, he’s the kind of guy who will relish that (challenge).”
While Quah prepares for his NCAA debut, Schooling will be entering his third NCAA meet.
It is the first time the University of Texas undergraduate will compete in the meet as an Olympic champion, and all eyes will be on the Singaporean who beat American Michael Phelps to the 100m butterfly gold in Rio de Janeiro.
NO STRANGER TO PRESSURE
He’s never shied away from any pressure around him and I think he’ll relish the challenge more than anything else.
GARY TAN, national training centre head coach, on Quah Zheng Wen’s prospects on debut at the Indiana meet.
Nevertheless, Tan is sure that Schooling, who is the reigning NCAA 100-yard and 200-yard fly champion, will have little difficulty in rising to the challenge.
“He’s a seasoned campaigner and he’s had a lot of experience competing at NCAA,” said the 34-year-old.
“Jo has the capability to always rise above his expectations, and from what I understand with the recent trip that (Singapore Swimming Association technical director) Sonya Porter and (Singapore Sports Institute biomechanist) Ryan Hodierne made, he’s in a good position and looking a lot fitter than before the Olympics.”
He’s a seasoned campaigner and he’s had a lot of experience competing at NCAA.
TAN, on how Joseph Schooling, the reigning NCAA 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly champion, will fare.
Porter and Hodierne had visited Schooling in Austin before he competed at last month’s Big-12 Swimming and Diving Championships in the United States.
There, he broke three meet records in as many days – which Tan thinks will be a confidence boost ahead of the NCAA Championships, which begin today.
Apart from defending both his titles, Schooling will also race in the 50-yard freestyle.
He won the event in 18.76sec at last month’s Big 12 Conference, which comprises 10 schools from five US states, breaking Jimmy Feigen’s eight-year Conference record in the process.
Quah has also made a promising start since leaving for the US in January – he finished the 200-yard butterfly in an NCAA ‘A’ qualifying time of 1min 40.36sec to post the second-fastest time of the season.
Schooling’s team-mate Jack Conger holds the top time of 1:39.17.
While the March 22-25 NCAA meet is not a SEA Games qualifier, Tan emphasised that the Division I Championships, which boast the top swim colleges in the US, will provide valuable racing experience for Schooling and Quah.
“They will be competing with the best guys on the collegiate system and the NCAA is one of the fastest meets in the world,” he added.
Former world record-setting swimmer and Pine Crest great Andy Coan died Monday in Boca Raton after a battle with liver cancer. He was 59.
Coan had suffered for several years from Guillian-Barre syndrome, a condition that damages the immune and nervous systems.
In 1975, Coan swam the 100-meter freestyle in 51.11 seconds at an AAU meet in Fort Lauderdale, breaking a world record. Just 17 at the time, Coan held the record for 20 days before previous record-holder Jim Montgomery took it back.
At Pine Crest, Coan won the state championship in the 100 free in 1973 and anchored the Panthers’ 400-free relay team that won state gold in 1974.
“It’s an amazing legacy. Andy was a great man and a phenomenal high school swimmer,” Pine Crest coach Jay Fitzgerald said.
Coan has records at Pine Crest that still stand.
“That’s how far in front he was of everyone else in his era and his time,” Fitzgerald said.
At Pine Crest’s annual Woodson Invitational, the award for the meet’s outstanding male swimmer is named after Coan. This past fall, after Pine Crest junior Nico Ferrara earned the honor, Coan told him to break his records and take his name off the board. Fitzgerald said it was a testament to Coan’s selflessness to hope to see someone surpass what he’d done.
“It’s very sad,” said Sid Cassidy, swim coach at St. Andrew’s, chief rival of Pine Crest. “Andy Coan was not only a good friend of mine, but he was a great friend to the aquatic community. Way beyond his incredible accomplishments in the pool during his competitive career was his gift of earnest friendship and devotion. He brought the most positive attitude to the pool every day.”
Coan was an assistant coach for the Scots under Cassidy from 2010-12.
At Tennessee, Coan led the Volunteers to become the first SEC team to win an NCAA team championship in swimming in 1978. He won gold in the 50 and 100 free and finished fourth in the 200 at the national championships that year.
The 28-year-old from Victoria, a consistent medal producer during a thin time for Canada’s swim program, announced his retirement from competition Tuesday. He ends his decorated career with two Olympic medals in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle — a silver and a bronze — and eight world championship medals, the most by a Canadian swimmer.
“Thinking of stepping away is the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make because it’s reinventing yourself, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time,” Cochrane said Tuesday on a conference call.
Going from someone who is in the top percentile in the world at something to someone who isn’t can be a difficult transition for athletes as they re-define themselves.
Cochrane, who has started a job working for a software company in Victoria, is tackling that transformation.
“I won’t miss the constant exhaustion and the days you can’t even function you’re so tired all the time,” Cochrane said
“I’m going to miss focusing on something that seemed a bit bigger than myself. Being part of the Olympic movement was something I underestimated when I started swimming and that I can’t say enough about now.”
He kept Canada’s swimmers on the international radar during lean times the first decade of this century.
Canada was shut out of swimming medals at the 2004 Olympic Games for the first time in four decades. Cochrane’s bronze on the last day of swimming four years later in Beijing prevented another drought.
He’s one of a handful of men to swim under 14 minutes 40 seconds in the 1.5k with a time of 14:39.63 to take silver in London.
With China’s Sun Yang controlling the race by the 500-metre mark, Cochrane waged a duel for silver.
He overtook South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan by the midway point and held off a charging Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, the 2008 gold medallist, over the final 100 metres.
“I was going to fight, probably to the death, to make sure he didn’t get his hand on the wall first,” Cochrane said after that race.
His parents John and Donna were among a dozen supporters cheering him on in London.
“Sharing that with them, winning the medal and seeing them in the front row, was something that makes me so happy to think about,” Cochrane says now.
He won a total of four silver and four bronze between 2009 and 2015 in world championship distance freestyle races.
The 1.5k was his forte. Training for, and competing in, the longest race in the pool is physically punishing.
Cochrane says he was “a terrible athlete as a kid”, but his late coach Randy Bennett recognized in the swimmer a talent for pushing himself into the red.
The majority of Olympic athletes retire without a gold medal around their neck.
But Cochrane still can’t pinpoint why, after four years of some of the hardest training he’s ever done, he was unable to go under 14:40 again last summer in Rio, where he finished sixth.
“In the middle of my race in Rio, I had the realization things were just not going well and that I would not be able to accomplish what I’d set my last 20 years towards,” Cochrane said.
“There’s been a lot of moments in the past six months where I’ve been absolutely heartbroken on how my sport ended for me, but I try not to let that dictate how my entire 20 years is summed up.”
Canada’s women had a breakout performance in the Rio pool with six medals, led by Penny Oleksiak and her 100-metre freestyle gold.
“I didn’t get the hardware I was looking for, but one of my favourite experiences was being part of that team and seeing the success and the normalization of Olympic medals,” Cochrane said.
Australia’s most successful Olympic sport has signalled its support for a change at the top of the AOC, with Swimming Australia president John Bertrand arguing that any organisation needs “new talent, new energy, new ideas’’ to improve.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates is facing a challenge from Hockeyroos Olympic gold medallist Danielle Roche to keep the post he has held for 26 years.
Ms Roche has released a detailed reform agenda that targets generous executive salaries and sets term limits for AOC directors and its president.
Mr Bertrand, a two-time Olympic sailor and a nationally celebrated figure for his part in captaining Australia’s winning America’s Cup campaign, said Mr Coates had done an “outstanding job in the past’’ but questioned whether he had been in the job for too long.
The battle for control of the AOC — the first since Mr Coates became its president in late 1990 — is being waged against a backdrop of shrinking Olympic medal tallies, reduced government funding for sport and a feud between the AOC and the Australian Sports Commission. Mr Coates’s spokesman, AOC media director Mike Tancred, accused ASC chairman John Wylie of orchestrating the Roche challenge.
Swimming Australia, like all Olympic sports, has two votes in a May 6 ballot to decide who will lead the AOC to the Tokyo Games.
Mr Coates has received public backing from two of his long-time supporters, former AOC president and International Olympic Committee vice-president Kevan Gosper and Graham Richardson, the former federal government minister he installed as Olympic village mayor during the Sydney Games.
Australia fell to 10th on the medal tally in Rio de Janeiro last year, finishing with eight gold medals and 29 overall. At the Games in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, Australia came fourth on the medal tally, with 16 and 17 gold medals respectively. The Rio medal haul was half the total in Sydney.
Mr Bertrand’s comments are not a formal endorsement of 46-year-old Ms Roche, a former Hockey Australia director and board member of the St Kilda Football Club, but give support to key elements of her reform platform.
“Increased success in Tokyo is a challenge for us all and if new leadership at the AOC could help drive this, it should be seriously considered,’’ he writes.
“Although the current chairman has done an outstanding job in the past, his current tenure of 26 years — 30 years, if he is re-elected — is a very long time. Long tenures risk an ingrained culture that is less likely to adapt to change and innovation needed to compete with other nations who have adopted best practice.’’
Mr Bertrand says best practice in business and sport limits the tenure of board members to eight years and board chairs to 12 years.
Ms Roche has pledged to introduce these limits to the AOC, which would bring it into line with the current practice of the IOC executive on which Mr Coates sits as vice-president.
Ms Roche has also called for greater collaboration between the AOC and the ASC, the government agency that provides the majority of funding to Olympic sports. Mr Coates has rejected a proposal by Mr Wylie for a closer working relationship between the two organisations on the grounds that it would undermine the independence of the AOC.
Mr Bertrand said Britain’s success at recent Olympics was a product of carefully targeted funding and “excellent co-operation’’ between the British Olympic Association and the British equivalent of the ASC, UK Sport.
“I am passionate about Australians achieving on the world stage, both in swimming and across all sports,’’ Mr Bertrand writes.
“We need to keep evolving. As such, we should not be afraid in considering change.’’
Under the AOC constitution, voting arrangements favour the incumbent. In addition to the 40 national sport federations having two votes, current members of the AOC executive, two members of the AOC athletes’ commission and Australian IOC members all get a vote.
In the event of a tie, the AOC president has a casting vote.