Pradeep Kumar, head coach of India’s national swimming team, is on the look-out for a foreign coach to help train his five swimmers who have qualified for the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
2010 Asian Games bronze medalist Virdhawal Khade (50m Freestyle), along with Sajan Prakash (200m butterfly), Saurabh Sangvekar (400m and 1500m freestyles), Sandeep Sejwal (50m and 200m breaststrokes) and Aaron Dsouza (200m freestyle) are the swimmers who qualified for Kazan and are subsequently in need of what Kumar describes to local press as a long-term coach; one who would be in the position for at least one Olympic cycle. According to dnaindia.com, the last foreign coach to take residence long-term in India was Australian Eric Arnold in 1986.
According to Kumar, he is “trying to get somebody from abroad, probably in a month’s time or so. We have made a couple of recommendations to the Government and we are waiting for their approval.” A “top coach” is how Kumar describes the potential candidate and further explained that it is not lack of knowledge that limits in-country coaching selection, but rather technology. He sees the opportunity of bringing in a foreign coach directly linked to the ability to simultaneously improve infrastructure and technology in the Swimming Federation of India (SFI).
This particular scenario somewhat parallels that of the Singapore Swimming Association’s hiring of former Bolles School head coach, Sergio Lopez last November. Lopez stepped down from his seven-year tenure at Bolles to accompany his protegé, Joseph Schooling, in Singapore, taking up the head coaching position of the association there.