Olympian swimmer-turned-coach Clive Rushton feels that the spread of knowledge around the country is essential to improve the overall standard of Indian swimming.
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Rushton, who competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics for Great Britain and worked as a coach in his own country apart from Greece and New Zealand, said coaches and swimmers should be able to access the pools around India.
“In a country like India, which has a number of good pools spread around, it is very important that even the knowledge is widespread. You cannot expect everyone to come down to Bengaluru for the best of facilities. These are things that should be made available to the coaches and swimmers where ever they are,” said Rushton while keeping a close watch on the proceedings in the ongoing National aquatics championship at the V.B.B. Stadium here.
According to Rushton, who has been working as the technical director of the Glenmark Aquatic Foundation in India for the last four months, India may not be a country too well-known in swimming but there is a general desire among the swimmers to make it to the elite level.
“But there are a lot of things to do because of where India is today on the swimming charts. It would not happen overnight, but in another six to eight years, you can probably see a systemic change in the way the sport is run in this country. You can tweak things a bit, but to change the whole ecosystem that will take a longer time.”
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Rushton said a two-pronged approach should be beneficial to improve the standard of the swimmers. “If you talk about the top-level swimmers, their technique is already hard wired. You can get them fitter, get them conditioned well; but to a large extent the way they use the water or the way they do the turns are hard wired.
“Among the young bunch, these skills are still developing. You still play around with it, change it if you think things can be better if the technique is changed.”
The 68-year-old coach said there was no dearth of talent in India.
“You go to any programme across the country and you will find at least one swimmer who will be talented. But by itself it is nothing, it needs to be backed by hard work,” said Rushton.