Sikkel says ‘cool new things’ at Swimcom

Posted on Aug 25 2022

Richard Sikkel, fourth from left standing, poses with the other Oceania coaches who attended the Oceania Coaches Workshop and Duel in the Pool in Australia. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Richard Sikkel recently attended the Oceania Coaches Workshop and Duel in the Pool in Australia and the Saipan Swim Club coach only had good things to say about the three-day event.

“Swimcom had some cool new things. Mainly good to catch up and connect with other Oceania coaches,” he said.

Sikkel said while no new knowledge on swimming techniques were shared during the confab, he still learned a thing or two, especially in the area of how to interpret swimmers’ data.

“No new swim techniques, that would’ve been huge. More innovations in general with data usage etc. Too expensive to implement for small nations, but we collect data, too.”

Sikkel also got a kick out of the head-to-head between Team USA and the Australian Dolphin Team.

“Well, the U.S. cleaned up in the duel in the pool. It was a different and fun format,” he said, while admitting he might’ve been the only one among workshop participants that rooted for the U.S.

Sikkel said he also liked the Para swimmers taking part in the Pool Duel between U.S. swimmers and Australian swimmers. 

“The inclusion of Para athletes in this competition was a first too. Very cool. Including a relay with able-bodied athletes paired with Para athletes of all different categories.”

Aside from Sikkel, 13 other coaches from Oceania were invited to attend the Oceania Coaches Workshop and Duel in the Pool from Aug. 19-21, 2022. The workshop was supported by the Oceania Swimming Association.

“I want to thank the Oceania Swimming Association for supporting the federations and coaches from some of the smaller nations that fall under Oceania to attend this workshop facilitated by expert high performance coaches. I also want to thank the Northern Marianas Swimming Federation for recommending me for this opportunity. As a coach I am always looking to learn and grow. Having hands-on experience under the guidance of coaches who coach at the highest level in the sport will hopefully allow me to replicate some of their methods and techniques and raise the level of swimming in the NMI,” Sikkel earlier said.

The objective of the three-day event was to further develop and enhance the capacity of swim coaches from the member federations by supporting them to attend a development workshop, SwimCon and Duel in the Pool.

The workshop is designed to incorporate Oceania coaches attending SwimCon and will be facilitated by Haydn Belshaw from Swimming Australia and a number of other expert swimming coaches. The workshop included a range of theory and practical activities for attending coaches.

SwimCon is also a leadership and innovation conference, bringing together experts and leaders from across the industry to present on key challenges and opportunities facing sports. 

Further, it brings together experts in technology, coaching, and culture development, athlete health and well-being, inclusion and the pathway to 2032. SwimCon is intended for coaches, managers and administrators in the sport of swimming.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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