Swim coaches rise to the surface

Newcastle's Camille Honiball (right) with FINA's Mona Nyheim-Canales and Paralympian swimmer, Chad Gifford.

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The 2017 National Swimming Teachers and Coaches Conference was held at the Royal Hotel in Durban from July 6 to 9.

Swim Studio’s Camille Honiball and Keri Blackett made up the Newcastle contingent.

One of the speakers at the conference was Chad Gifford, a Paralympic athlete and medallist from KwaZulu-Natal, who presented a talk on ‘Teaching with Challenges’.

Gifford is a bilateral amputee, critically injured in a collision as an adult.

He invented a skateboard trolley, which he uses instead of a wheelchair, and coaches swimming from both a pool deck and the pool itself.

“What a privilege to meet this awesome man,” Honiball commented.

The key-note speaker was Mona Nyheim-Canales, Coaches Education Consultant for FINA (International Swimming Federation) and age group coach at Arizona State University.

She placed emphasis on steering local coaching to more international medals.

“The conference also looked at the dire need to address large numbers of drownings in South Africa each year. Around 600 children drown per year and about 6 000 survive near-drownings but will remain in a coma state or suffer permanent brain damage.”

Honiball was then called on to present solutions to bring water safety and swimming lessons to each child of school-going age.

She has called on mass partnerships between international and national bodies.

Honiball envisaged the signing of Memorandums of Understanding between FINA, the Department of Sport and Recreation, the Department of Basic Education, teacher training colleges, district municipalities and local municipalities, as well as various sea, water and swimming bodies countrywide.

“My dream and prayer is for every South African learner in Grade 3, even those without swimming pools, to follow a sustainable National Water Safety and Swimming Program during school hours from as early as 2020.”

Honiball believes Newcastle will be instrumental in showcasing this swimming plan to stakeholders both local and abroad, and urged businesses and brands to also lend a hand.

For more details, contact Camille on 082 453 1312.

Bruce Douglas

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