Comparing Practices of US Swimming against a Global Model for ...

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Abstract

This study examines the current state of swimming in the USA against an ideal-type model for developing high performance sport integrated with mass participation. A questionnaire was developed for the following elements of the model: talent development; advanced athlete support; training centers; competitions; intellectual services; partnerships with supporting agencies; and, balanced and integrated funding and structures of mass and elite sport. Survey questions were validated by twelve international experts including executives from sport governing bodies, swim coaches, academicians, and administrators. To determine the areas for improvement, 102 coaches completed the questionnaire. Possible advancements were further identified through semi-structured discussions with fifteen swimming administrators. Results suggest possible enhancements at macro level (e.g., new partnerships and incentives for greater support of mass and elite swimming), meso level (e.g., additional sources and models for better coach education and facilities), and micro level (e.g., advanced lifelong swimming guidelines for excellence of everyone).