Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Contract Management Not to Blame for Coaching Decline

Contract Management Not to Blame for Coaching Decline
September 30, 2009

Aquatic management professionals have responded to claims that the contract management of facilities is to blame for a decline in the numbers of marquee coaches and elite swimming performance.

The claims, by journalist Phil Lutton, in an article Where have the coaches gone? Dire straits for elite sport on Fairfax Digital's The Brisbane Times on 4th September, warn of dire consequences for swimming "if urgent action is not taken to replenish the nation's dwindling stocks of elite coaches."

The article quoted Scott Volkers, the coach man behind Olympic champion Susie O'Neill and the current Head Coach at the Queensland Academy of Sport, as saying "the leasing of public pools to large leisure companies is squeezing out marquee coaches, with Australia's international performance destined to âcrumbleâ as a result."

On behalf of Belgravia Leisure, singled out in Lutton's story as the apparent cause of this decline, Chief Executive Adrian Johnston has explained that the company was "disappointed" at the article's "bias".

As Johnston states "when we have taken on facilities with elite swimming programs we work to make sure they continue and develop as part of the inclusive services we seek to offer."

In a further article, 'Not to Blame, in the just published September/October 2009 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Publisher Nigel Benton explores the subject of the decline in funding of elite swimming, but comes to very different conclusions to the article in The Brisbane Times.

As Benton writes "that Australian elite swimming is under unprecedented pressure is widely acknowledged."

Benton's article also quotes Australia's Head Swimming Coach Alan Thompson, who oversaw Australia's record Games haul of 20 swimming medals at last year's Beijing Olympics, who stated that Australian sport faces a crisis if more money is not forthcoming, saying "we are on the verge of a crisis in Australian sport if we don't get any help."

As for the balance between elite coaching and public access to aqautic centres, consultant Martin Sheppard of the Smart Connection Company explains, "managers and management companies have to achieve a balance between elite swimming, community programming and a range of social objectives.

"Public pools are there for more than elite swimming but a balance can be achieved across all aquatic activities and objectives."

Read the full article in the September/October 2009 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.

The Brisbane Times article can be read at



Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Centaman has been a market leader in Enterprise Software Solutions for the leisure and recreation industry and both profit and not-for-profit attractions since 1991. It offers a wide range of software…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Ticketing



revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology



Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues



Leisure Concepts brings the world’s leading fitness equipment brands to Australasia - these include True Fitness, Atlantis Strength, Merrithew (Stott Pilates), Intenza Fitness,…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness



AQUASPIN™ - Aqua Cycling Aquaspin™’s sessions have been specially designed by our Master Trainer to be challenging yet fun group cycling sessions. Each session is tailored to…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Wellness


AIS Water

AIS Water, the trading name of Australian Innovative Systems, is a multi-award winning, Australian owned leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators…

read more

Aquatics / Safety / Technology



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business