In a major coup, the WA Institute of Sport has
gained the services of
one of Australia's most respected international swimming coaches.
WAIS and WA Swimming Association announced jointly
yesterday that Ralph
Richards would become its inaugural head swimming coach from the middle
of next month.
Richards, 49, is Australian Swimming's national
coaching and development
coordinator. He is the former coach of the Australian Institute of
women's program, where his charges included Olympic backstroke bronze
He was an assistant coach in the Australian team at
the 1988 Seoul Olympics
and a member of various coaching staff on other overseas tours.
Richards also has a strong science background and was
with a coach education merit award by the Australian Coaching Council.
Originally from the US, Richards was assistant coach
there from 1976
to 1983, and a former coach of the Vic Swim Centre in Melbourne.
WASA president Lynne Bates was yesterday enthusiastic
"His knowledge and experience will be invaluable in
fast tracking our
younger coaches, " she said. "We wil be
||looking to Ralph to provide direction
to the program.
"His appointment comes at an ideal time, with the
standard of WA swimming
having slipped in recent years.
That Olympic relay bronze medallist Julia Greville is
WA's only representative
at next month's world titles at Challenge Stadium is a far cry from the
eight WA swimmers in 1991, when the world titles were last held
WAIS director, Wally Foreman said Richards' tasks
would include the
elite coach development, coordinating talent squads, planning and
tours and making greater use of the WAIS sports science program.
"The emphasis will remain on the individual coaches
and their squads,
but we are keen to develop a more coordinated and cooperative approach
to elite development," Foreman said.
WAIS was disappointed its squad programs had not
over the years.
But this new direction is expected to lead to a high
level of team spirit.
Coaches expected to benefit under the program include
and Matt Brown.
Swimming was one of the inaugural sports when WAIS
its programs on July 1, 1984. Foreman has been its director ever since.