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SBD Global/October 16, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New Swimming Australia President Looks To Mimic NCAA Swimming Model

Six Australian universities have approached Swimming Australia about joint venture projects that newly-elected SA President Barclay Nettlefold "hopes will grow into a U.S.-style inter-varsity swimming competition," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. In an exclusive interview with The Australian, Nettlefold, who was elected on Saturday to replace outgoing president David Urquhart, revealed plans "to contract the country's top coaches and to provide SA CEO Kevin Neil with specialist assistance in the guise of a director of swimming to compensate for his lack of knowledge of the sport." Nettlefold plans "to tap the country's highest-participation sport into the Australian university system," allowing Olympic-standard swimmers to pursue an education on scholarships while representing their school. The universities would compete head-to-head in a U.S.-style college competition that "promises to radically reshape swimming." Nettlefold said, "Six universities have come to us on the back of the London Olympics with proposals for us to make use of their facilities and sports science expertise. It's real and it's very exciting for us." When asked if the system would aspire to mimic the U.S. inter-collegiate competitions, "one of the major strengths of American swimming," Nettlefold replied: "That's where we'll look to take it. Last year we sent a very strong swim team to the World University Games and I'd like to think we could send our best swimmers there in future" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/16).
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