The coaching philosophy and approach to competitive swimming that drives the Geelong Swimming Club coaching team is simple and consist of five parts:


If you have purpose, you have direction and that direction helps fuel a hunger for knowledge. If you know what you want, then you’ll be willing to do what it takes to get there. Purpose makes you get out of bed at 4:30am; purpose motivates you to create healthy habits; purpose makes you grit your teeth and go harder during a tough kick set.

Work Ethic

Nothing gets achieved without work ethic. Swimming takes ‘work’ to a new level but if you have purpose, the work makes sense. Work isn’t just about training hard. It is going to bed on time and putting effort into skill work or race strategy. A good work ethic leads to successful outcomes and over time, we will learn to love work and all its rewards.


Not everyone loves what they do, but when you are a swimmer loving what you do, it’s the biggest competitive edge you can have. Passion is what brings the fun and the team spirit alive, it’s what makes what we do so much fun and it’s a reward for all the work we put in.


Giving an honest effort, being true to yourself, “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” are life quotes the coaching team want the swimmers to understand. Being honest with your coach, your parents, your friends and most importantly yourself, not only speeds up the improvement process in the pool, it’s also an invaluable life skill. The ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings effectively is of great value.


We are capable of amazing achievements with this one word. By combining the above 4 points together, it will develop the confidence and self-belief so highly regarded as the key to performance. It’s not only self-belief, but belief in each other—that we can achieve what we set out to do, and if it doesn’t happen this time, it will happen next time. Belief is what sustains us when things get tough, and even if we lose belief in ourselves, we have a whole community of people who continue to believe in us.


Coaches Responsibilities

To help parents understand what our coach does for your swimmers, we have prepared the following outline of responsibilities


Our Head Coach Sam Ashby and Assistant Head Coach Lucky Weerakody are both qualified ASTCA Silver Licence Swimming Coaches, which is different to Aust Swim qualifications for swim teachers Other coaches either hold or are working towards completing their Bronze Licence. Qualified coaches must be insured and registered with the national coaching body. To hold and maintain this registration, they must have a current CPR certificate and undertake regular professional development activities which often involve travel and accommodation. These activities come at considerable cost both in time and money for our coaches.

Conducting Sessions

This involves constant monitoring of the group to ensure swimmers are working at the appropriate level to achieve the desired training outcomes. This includes visual monitoring, giving feedback, timing reports, taking stroke counts and rates, monitoring heart rates, teaching skills and drills, and educating swimmers on the purpose of each drill and how it can help improve their stroke, teaching and improving race skills such as starts, turns and finishes, keeping records of swimmers as well as ensuring swimmers have appropriate rest and drinks. The coach sometimes moves away from direct poolside to monitor swimmers unobtrusively. On other occasions, the coach may video the swimmers from above or below the water for a more thorough analysis of stroke technique.

Swimmers are taught to work off the pace clock and gradually learn to work at all appropriate levels of effort. Swimming is a highly disciplined sport and swimmers gain an enormous amount of personal growth from being an active member of our club.

Training Session Plans

The Coach plans each session ahead of time. It is an ongoing process with sessions being developed constantly to best meet the needs of each group, and individual in the group over time. Swimmers develop at different rates and have different abilities—these are taken into account when planning sessions. Sometimes sessions are changed between planning and training—a program is constantly reviewed to ensure swimmers are being developed appropriately.


The coach spends a lot of time watching and timing swimmers at meets. However, unlike a parent watching their child, the coaches are observing lots of things. These include execution of starts, turns and finishes, taking splits of various parts of a race, observing stroke rate, head and body position, kick rate, and timing of various strokes. This information is part of the information gathering that goes into the continued development of swimmers.

Often where the swimmer finishes in the race is the last thing the coaches notice! Coaches note what swimmers need to work on, what is good and what skills need more work—often identifying things that need to be fixed in order to prevent future disqualifications or to improve times. If a swimmer is disqualified, the coach often knows what for, even without asking the referees. All of our coaches are paid above the Fitness industry Award and their hourly rate or salary includes attending targeted meets.