'Indians need more exposure'

'Indians need more exposure'

'Indians need more exposure'

India will have to increase their participation at the international level if they are to be a competitive swimming nation at the global stage, according to Duffy Dillon, the international director of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA).

“I think India needs to increase their participation at the World level. Be it the World Championships or the Olympics, you need to ensure that more swimmers qualify for international meets,” said Duffy on the sidelines of the ASCA level III course on Tuesday.

“I was in Pune last year (for the Junior and Sub-Junior National meet), but I haven’t had an opportunity to be see what happens at the State and the District-level, but I believe a lot more can be done at these levels.

“Even when you take Karnataka, a State that has been dominating the National scene, coach Pradeep (Kumar) tells me that there are a few sites that still need quality swimming centres. One thing that India has and others don’t is the population, so it’s a matter of making the most of it,” he added.

Duffy said it was the involvement of their coaches that has helped the United States become the swimming heavyweights that they are today.

“There are a few things. We put emphasis on swimming for a little bit longer. And secondly, our coaches are really involved. It is our coaches that lead the sport. Many of us want to know what a Michel Phelps or a Katie Ledecky does, but we don’t know that. None of us have coached them. So we as ASCA, share our expertise and show how a coach can create a healthy environment for his swimmer to develop into a better athlete. We need to realise that we work for the swimmers and it’s not the swimmers who swim for us,” he stressed.

Having seen India’s young talent at the Junior and the Sub-junior National meet, Duffy believed that it was a matter of nurturing the young talent as they make progress from being an age-group swimmer to a member of the National team.

“The talent pool in India is really solid, no doubt in that. Pune gave me a good idea of the talent this country has. You have got swimmers like Rayna Saldanha and a number of kids like her. It’s good be the best at an age-group level, but we need to be careful that when a swimmer is 13-14 we don’t put all the expectation of the country on them,” he pointed out.
DH News Service

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