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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aussie swim coach sells out to the Chinese

Shiwen Ye, the sixteen year old Chinese swimming sensation, swims faster than men.  It's the first time in Olympic history a woman has swam faster than a male gold metalist.  There is only one man on the planet who can beat her fastest lap time and that's the greatest swimmer and Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps.

"It's not possible" people are saying "She must be on something."  Not so, say the Australian coaches she trains with, they say the Chinese just work harder.   Ye trains in Queensland with Australian coaches Ken Wood and Denis Cotterell under contract to the Chinese.

Back in 2008, the legendary coach Ken Wood sold his top-secret training regime to China.  "They pay for the programs" he said "They pay good money, big money, I wouldn't help them for nothing."

Ken Wood

Thanks to Mr Wood, our own Jessica Schipper was beaten by a Wood-trained Chinese swimmer in the final at the Beijing Olympics.  Wood said "Money is one thing, I have to make a living, but Jess was my swimmer and I brought her through since she was 12 years old."  His swimming academy located in Redcliffe is his business.  "I work for Australian swimming when I'm on the teams, but anyone can come into my program if they want to."

He said the poor remuneration of Australia's top swimming coaches left him little choice but to seek international customers and his programs contain detailed information on stroke technique, weight training, diet and preparation for elite swimmers.

Wood received a bonus for Ye's 200m medley gold medal at last year's world championships in Changai.  Rumour has it that for the London Olympics, coaches are getting bonuses of $250,000 for gold, $150,000 for silver and $100,000 for bronze.

"I get paid per month, per swimmer, four times more than I do with my own swimmers" Wood told Associated Press.  "China is putting a lot of money into its program and I am only too happy to work with them."   Wood is now 83 years old and said four years ago "If I was 20 years younger, I wouldn't be sitting in Australia, I'd be coaching overseas."