On Tuesday, September 5th, 2023 the invited 21st American Swim Coaches Association Timothy Welsh Fellowship class arrived in Dallas, a day before the commencement of the 2023 ASCA World Clinic, to kick off their year-long impact project. The ASCA Timothy Welsh Fellows Program is an annual initiative that was formed by the long-time University of Notre Dame coach Timothy Welsh. Before his passing in 2021, Welsh asked Coach Kathleen Prindle to take over this decorated program as Program Chair. Kathleen is a former 2010 ASCA Fellow, Level 5 Coach, current USA Swimming Board member, and former ASCA Board member.
The aim of this year’s project is to look at retention trends in swimming and how it might relate to American youth sports. The project is a step toward improving our sport–on the local and national scale–and possibly youth sports as a whole.
This year’s participants, from left to right below, are Jody Riskowski (Pius X High School), Angie Fain (Schertz-Cibolo Universal City ISD), Tara Bolivar (Suburban Seahawks Club, 21st Fellows Class Chair), Kathleen Prindle (Fellows’ Program Chair), Mikaela Bagely (Minnetonka Public Schools), Brandon Converse (East Grand Rapid Aquatics), and Jonny Dray (San Clemente Aquatics).
The invited fellows arrived a day early to meet and greet and begin honing in on their project scope and objectives…but the real juice began to flow on day two of the ASCA World Clinic, which began with a talk titled Changing the Game in Swimming: Taking Your Coaching From Transactional to Transformational by keynote speaker and Founder and CEO of Changing The Game Project, John O’Sullivan. With John being the author of two #1 Bestselling books and an international speaker and authority on youth sports and coaching, his talk was a great parallel to the Fellows’ project.
The Fellows class had the chance to meet John later in the day, an opportunity that was “A blessing, both for our project organization and personal inspiration.” As the fellows put it.
In addition, they had the chance to meet and receive some team leadership coaching from Jeff Raker, author, Founder, and CEO of Level Up Leadership Coach, ASCA speaker, and ASCA Level 4 Leadership School facilitator.
The Fellows also had the privilege of meeting with and getting to know ASCA CEO Jennifer LaMont, ASCA Board President Mike Murray and the rest of the Board of Directors, Dan Mascolo (Director of Member Engagement and Events), Ariel Hodges (Director of Communication and Online Education), and Mike Koleber, Head Coach and Owner of Nitro Swimming.
The invited fellows will be working collaboratively for the next year as they look more closely at retention trends in swimming and consider how their findings relate to youth sports in America. With support from the ASCA Board of Directors, access to mentors and coaching leaders, and the leadership of Kathleen Prindle, the Fellows left the 2023 World Clinic inspired, connected, and eager to dive into their impact project.