Mumbai: Top American swimming coach Richard Shoulberg feels there is no reason why Indian swimmers cannot shine on the international stage and all it requires was passion and hard work culture to excel in the "great sport".
"There's no reason why athletes (swimmers) from India cannot be on the (medal) podium in this great sport," said the three-time US Olympic swimming coach, who is on a week-long visit to the city to conduct American Swimming Coaches Association's Level 1 and 2 coaches certification clinics. "They should be passionate to do well and have strong work culture.
I am here to help Indian swimming," said Shoulberg - who had last night stepped down as head coach of Philadelphia-based Germantown Academy in the US - at the Rajiv
Gandhi sports complex in Dharavi. Shoulberg conducted a clinic two days ago for elite swimmers (select under 18 national and state level champions) and yesterday addressed the parents of the swimmers about the role they can play to mold the swimming careers of their promising children.
Shoulberg's visit to the city is part of the initiative of Glenmark Aquatic Foundation in association with the Swimming Federation of India. Asked what he told the coaches in today's clinic, Shaulberg said, "I talked about so many things and showed them video clips. I told them to go to YouTube and the websites of various coaches and learn from those.
"Technology is now there to help them, which I did not have 40 years ago. I also told them to think out of the box," said the 75-year-old American, who has coached champions like David Berkoff, the 1988 Seoul Olympics backstroke gold medalist. Anand Desai, president of the Glenmark Aquatic Foundation - the CSR arm of the pharma company, said the initiative is budgeted to cost the firm Rs 2-3 crore per year over.
"The majority of it would go to grass root level coaching. But we would also help in SFI conducting various meets and will be setting up high performance swimming
academies across the country. The next such clinic would be held in July-August, but may not be in Mumbai," he said.