WC Aquatics establish relief fund to assist coaches

Lluwellyn Coetzee, president of Western Cape Aquatics, and his executive committee have established a relief fund to assist coaches and other people who are earning an income through the sport and are now suffering financially as a result of the national lockdown.

WC Aquatics is a member of the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation and oversee swimming, water polo, cliff diving, diving and artistic swimming.

Coetzee explained that the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in aquatics and they are experiencing huge challenges. Lots of people are depending on practicing and coaching the sport for an income and with swimming schools and clubs closed coaches cannot make money.

Coetzee reckons they have reached a critical stage now. The provincial federation made submissions to the national federation as part of the Return to Play document that SASCOC (the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) has helped to develop.

They will go into discussions with the minister of sports, art and culture and he was hoping that Aquatics would then get a clear indication of the way forward.

But WC Aquatics were not idle and instead of playing the waiting game they have acted pro-actively and established the relief fund. The provincial federation has availed R100 000 as a start and now Coetzee was hoping corporates and individuals would get involved to provide financial assistance to coaches who are in dire straits.

He said they would love contributions to see if they, as a family, can give the necessary assistance. It was important from a provincial perspective that they had to take the lead in an attempt to resolve their biggest challenge.

Aquatics are not as fortunate as sports like bridge and chess where the players can compete online. But they tried to keep the athletes interested by advising them to do land training. Land training, however, cannot compete with the real thing – being in the water so the sooner the athletes get back in the water the better.

But sharing is caring in the aquatic fraternity, it seems. Athletes post their training videos online and WC Aquatics also used the lockdown to build the capacity of its officials and coaches via webinars on Zoom. There is a good collaboration between the provinces and if one hosts a webinar they make it available to all the other provinces.

Sadly, several important events had to be cancelled – which came at a great financial loss to the districts and province and the coaches. Coetzee said half of the year is already lost as far as events go and the short course events that usually take place in winter are all cancelled.

He said it seems that the athletes would in all likelihood not be able to compete in the short course events this year but was hopeful that the long course events would resume in November.

Officials, however, are hard at work and the Western Cape provincial meeting took place last week via Zoom. The annual general meeting is supposed to take place in October but a decision about how that will happen will depend on the lockdown levels. The Eden District also had a meeting on Zoom last week.    

Companies or individuals who want to contribute to the relief fund can contact Bernie Manzoni at berniemanzoni@gmail.com or on 071-6746538 or follow this link http://www.wcapeaquatics.co.za/coaches-fund/