Coaches Opt For Schism: Big Four Split From Global Body WSCA In Clash Of Cultures
Four of the biggest and most influential coaches associations in swimming, from Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States, have announced they are parting company with the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) over changes to its constitution and concerns over ‘values and oversight’.
WSCA announced the changes last month, along with explanations on how it would boost its board representation by adding delegates from each of the six aquatics continents and National Swimming Coaches Associations – on merit measured by coaching performance – from the Paris 2024 Olympics onwards.
WSCA responded in a statement that noted: “It is our view that the statement from the four NSCA’s is disappointing, unnecessary and does not best serve swimming coaches on a global level. Our new Constitution allows for a true and broadly spread continental representation on the WSCA Board, rather than the previous default structure with control and influence in the hands of two or three powerful swimming nations.”
In their statement, the big four national coaches associations explained: “The primary reason cited for this disaffiliation is the concern that the recently enacted WSCA constitution fails to meet the standards of organisational oversight and member representation, which are fundamental values for each of the national associations.”
WSCA issued a statement in response after a source at the organisation told SOS that the coach groups’ position was lamentable and veered towards a “grandstanding” attitude from organisations that had not been particularly active at WSCA for some time.
See the statements from both sides below this short text.
Concern was also expressed that commercial interests underpinned the announcement but this was denied by a source close to the coaching associations about to leave WSCA.
Asked if there was a way back from such schism among coaches, one source said: “Not as things stand but never say never. If issues can be resolved in the year ahead before the changes to the constitution come into force …”.
Both sides suggested that the other party had not made enough effort to engage over the concerns.
The Big Four Statement in Full
The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), Swim Coaches and Teachers Australia (SCTA), Canadian Swimming Coaches Association (CSCA), and British Swimming Coaches Association (BSCA) – collectively representing the four largest swimming coaches associations in the world – have officially withdrawn their affiliation from the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA).
The primary reason cited for this disaffiliation is the concern that the recently enacted WSCA constitution fails to meet the standards of organizational oversight and member representation, which are fundamental values for each of the national associations.
The four associations strongly believe that coaches from around the world should collaborate on common issues and share best practices. As a result, SCTA, CSCA, BSCA, and ASCA have committed to working closely together in the pursuit of shared goals, the advancement of the sport, and the well-being of athletes and coaches alike. They look forward to continued engagement with the broader global swimming community and other like-minded coaches and organizations to enhance the sport.
World Swimming Coaches Association Statement in full
The Board of the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) make the following the statement following that released by four National Swimming Coaches Associations regarding their affiliation with WSCA.
In September of this year, the WSCA Board voted for significant constitutional change, their strongest ever endeavor to date to ensure that the Association’s governance and strategic direction is truly representational on a worldwide level. WSCA is designed to serve coaches and not coaches associations
It is our view that the statement from the four NSCA’s is disappointing, unnecessary and does not best serve swimming coaches on a global level.
Our new Constitution allows for a true and broadly spread continental representation on the WSCA Board, rather than the previous default structure with control and influence in the hands of two or three powerful swimming nations.
With WSCA serving over 14,000 members worldwide, the continents of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania will each have at least one representative on the Board following the Paris 2024 Games; it is clear and apparent that there remains opportunity for coaches from USA, Canada, Australia and Great Britain to occupy seats on the Board – but not at the regular expense of all other nations.
The Constitution also fully facilitates recognized and constituted NSCA’s to be able to further their partnership with WSCA going forwards via their own Board seats, available to them through affiliation. It is therefore a sad day that these NSCA’s choose to disassociate themselves from WSCA when the aspiration of the Board is for clear, transparent and widespread international representation from all corners of the globe.
From 2024, Continental representatives will be selected from the world’s leading coaches, with coaching performance a pre-requisite of application and acceptance. WSCA is also now in a position to be able to appoint additional ‘skill set’ Directors to the Board to help them enable their 2024-2028 Strategic Plan. It is hard for us to see how this can be seen as anything but good, proactive and inclusive for those we serve and support.
It should also be noted that the only NSCA that has been affiliated to WSCA over the last two years is the ASCTA. In many regards, this statement simply maintains the status quo that we have been working within.
These Associations are ‘disassociating’ from an organization run by volunteers with no agenda other to serve their own coach members. Rather than ‘outsourcing’ and embracing the role WSCA plays in the sport, they are implying a power grab that simply does not exist, and with the new Constitution, never will.
The WSCA of 2023 has evolved to serve two missions. Firstly, the Association provides the voice for the high-performance coaches in the world through continuous advocacy, while remaining as service providers (through education and consulting) for the developing swimming nations of the world. WSCA is the only organization that serves both ends of the spectrum and is also the only Association that can serve the needs of the world’s swimming coaches without a national led agenda.
The door will always be open for all NSCA’s to be partners with WSCA, including the four that sit within this statement. We sincerely hope that over time, these particular NSCA’s recognize that they have not acted in the interests of the coaches that they represent and that they reach out to us with swimming coach welfare, support and camaraderie at the heart of their decision-making. WSCA is, and always has been, strong, essential and progressive. All of those who would have swimming coach support at the heart of what they do will hopefully recognize over time that we are stronger working together, and that the world’s swimming coaches will be better served for it.
Sincerely WSCA Board