The Samoa Swimming Federation has taken proactive measures to prepare for the Pacific Games.
Three intensive week-long F.I.N.A. clinics were organised focussing on Technical Officiating for Open Water events and Indoor Swimming events.
Concurrently, F.I.N.A. Coach, Bill Sakovich, conducted an eight day coaching and swim development programme for all club coaches, swimmers and the national squad.
These three clinics came at a crucial time with the Pacific Games occurring in 14 short months with the goal of developing local capacity in technical officiating capacities for both the Open Water events and indoor swimming events.
“The clinics were conducted by F.I.N.A. Technical Experts from New Zealand who offered significant training sessions for all participants.
“We were fortunate to continue to train our local H.P.E. teachers who have been integral in our previous officiating courses. Also, we were able to draw on local open water experts for officiating roles in the open water competition,” explained General Secretary Kerrie Punivalu.
The Open water 2 day intensive clinic focussed on Open water rules, regulations, staging events and timing.
Nine participants successfully completed the course, which was conducted by Oceania and F.I.N.A. open water expert, John West.
The four day indoor swimming training covered areas of software database management, judge of stroke, competition programming and competition delivery.
The clinic culminated with a formal swim meet for all area swimmers and an examination for all attendees.
Kerrie Punivalu reflected that she couldn’t be more pleased with the turn out, the interest and the commitment of the clinic participants.
She continued to emphasize that formal swim meets will be on-going each month to ensure that local technical officials are prepared well before the Pacific Games in 2019.
Meanwhile, the swimmers and coaches were put to the test in dual sessions each day under the guidance of Mr Sakovich.
Coach Sakovich has worked tirelessly with the Swimming Federation each year to guide the coaches and swimmers in successive plans, swimmer development and technical stroke work.
Through his annual visits to Samoa, he observed that there are a growing number of swimmers from many area schools and villages who are now participating in some form of organized school or club swim programming.
“It is a pleasure to see so many of the same children year to year progressing and developing in the sport of swimming. Moreover, it is wonderful to see more teachers and coaches attending the clinics and improving their delivery skills.
“Samoa Swimming has come a long way and the development is there- both in infrastructure, athletes and coaches. I look forward to returning and seeing even more schools involved next time.”
The interclub swim meet that was held last week during the clinics showcased the evident growth of Samoa Swimming.
Five clubs participated in the event with the makeup of swimmers coming from many different primary and secondary schools.
Those in attendance were two Apia-based swim clubs namely Tanifa O Le Vai and I’a Lele Swim club, two school swim clubs, Le Amosa and Samoa Primary, and Saoluafata swim club, a village-based swim club.
The meet introduced novice swimmers to the rules and regulations of competitive swimming.
“We are continuing introduce swimming to a large base of children within Apia.
Participating in formal swim competitions helps them correct their stroke, focus on biomechanics and understand the application of power for race strategies. It is one thing to learn the basics of swimming, but totally another level of understanding occurs when competitive pressure is applied to that movement,” explained National Coach Suzie Schuster.
Schuster continues to encourage parents to not only enrol their children in formal learn to swim programmes, but to ensure children have daily practice opportunities for the skills to be developed.
“While it is a step in the right direction by exposing more children to swimming skills, it is just as important to allow that child to have more water experiences so they improve and become more proficient in the water environment and in competition.”
With the F.I.N.A. clinics official closing this week, the technical officials, coaches and swimmers all have a lot to reflect on and apply for the next upcoming event in June. If there is expressed interest in starting a school-based swim program or a swim club, please contact the Samoa Swimming Federation for technical guidance and capacity development. firstname.lastname@example.org