Article 020 c.1997
Richards to head
WAIS swim team

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 Sport's women's program, where his charges included Olympic backstroke bronze medalist Nicole Stevenson.
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 recently presented 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 about Richards' appointment. 
"His knowledge and experience will be invaluable in fast tracking our younger coaches, " she said. "We wil be
looking to Ralph to provide direction and leadership 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 here. 
WAIS director, Wally Foreman said Richards' tasks would include the elite coach development, coordinating talent squads, planning and managing 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 worked sufficiently 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 Grant Stoelwinder and Matt Brown.
Swimming was one of the inaugural sports when WAIS officially started its programs on July 1, 1984. Foreman has been its director ever since.


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