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New national body formed as Australian Swim Schools Association launched

August 2nd, 2016

Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA)A new swim school industry peak body has been formed, the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA).

ASSA has employed Ross Gage as CEO. Gage’s company Aussie Aquatics had handled the management of Swim Australia, part of the Australian Swim Coaches & Teachers Association (ASCTA) from 1998 until December last year.

ASCTA is transitioning to an improved integrated business model and its Swim Australia division has now returned to direct management by ASCTA.

The separation of Aussie Aquatics and Swim Australia had a few hiccups, with the Federal Court of Australia sorting out some of the finer points to do with intellectual property and other issues.

Gage says that it had become apparent that the swim school sector of the industry had evolved to the point where it needed its own, solely swim-school-focused peak industry body.

Its first major event will be to assist with the International SwimDisability Conference at SPLASH! on the Gold Coast.

Directors and goals

The voluntary establishment directors of ASSA are Dave Urquhart, Bev Christmass, John Coutts, Julia Ham, Reece Rackley, Shawn Read, Bruce Sullivan and Wayne Pollock.

President of ASSA, Dave Urquhart, says that this is an A-Team of all highly respected industry leaders bringing a wide range of expertise and top quality experience to the table.

“Collectively, they cover private and public enterprises of varying sizes, both single and multiple sites, family as well as corporate based and include ‘outside’ expertise as well,” he says.

ASSA states its mission is to drive and evolve the swim school industry towards a uniform standard of world’s best practice. This will be primarily achieved through the delivery of international leading guidelines, professional development programs, growth opportunities and business support.

CEO Ross Gage says this will lead to an ever-increasing number of Australians enjoying a first-class educational and holistically enriching experience, resulting in a nation of safer, lifelong swimmers.

He says that they only started taking memberships from July this year, and already more than 120 swim schools have signed up.

“We are confident we will have more than 500 schools in our broader network with the first year of operation,” he says.

“Part of the reason for the successful take-up is that we are offering tiered memberships and various payment options, making it easier for the smaller businesses to come on board.”

The first major event they will be involved in is the International SwimDisability Conference at SPLASH! on the Gold Coast.

The first ASSA national conference will also be held during SPLASH!, starting on August 15 to August 17.

International Swim Disability Conference

Erin Seal-Grande pictured with Emma
Erin Seal-Grande (pictured with Emma) will be presenting at the International Swim Disability Conference organised by ASSA

ASSA says they recognise the great potential for people with disability to participate in all aspects of the great activity and sport and is committed to making inclusion simply part of what they do. ASSA believes in taking a social approach to disability inclusion by putting the swimmer first, adapting to individual need and addressing both physical and attitudinal barriers to participation. With the help of other partner organisations, ASSA deliver programs and resources to support and develop Swim Schools and teachers to understand the needs of people with disability and how they can create a positive and welcoming environment. People with disability should have the same opportunities to swim as everyone and SPLASH! on the Gold Coast 2016  will have a special focus via the International SwimDisability Conference for swim schools and teachers and a display of swim disability equipment, to support swimmers to learn and improve.

AIS is sponsoring the conference.

By Chris Maher
SPLASH! Magazine
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