May 8, 2013
AUBURN -- A delegation of swimming coaches from Shanghai, China, traveling in the United States for sports training, were hosted by the Auburn swimming Wednesday afternoon.
The Shanghai Swimming Coaches spent the morning touring the Auburn Athletics facilities before taking in the afternoon practice session and a clinic with Auburn head swimming and diving coach Brett Hawke.
Hawke addressed much of the keys to selecting strong athletes to compete at the highest level, talking about characteristics of a champion. He also spoke about training for sprint events, a specialty of the Auburn program.
"It is very flattering for Auburn to be world renowned," Hawke said. "This group has spent a lot of money to send over their coaches to learn ways to improve their program in Shanghai."
Hosted by the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala., the Sports Study Tour is led by Marlin Lee, who earned his master's in Sports Management and Sports Coaching from the Academy in 1994. Lee runs his own sports consulting company, American Sports & Media Management, which is based in Hayward, Calif.
Much of his work involves helping arrange programs to train Shanghai players, coaches and administrators in the United States. In recent years, Lee, an Olympic team handball player and coach, has brought baseball, softball, soccer, men's basketball and other sports groups to train in the United States.
In China, each of the 34 province-level divisions is responsible for running independent sports programs. Shanghai's is ranked third in the country. According to Lee, Chinese sports professionals have a strong desire to learn more from the West to enhance their own sports programs.
"Shanghai sports don't have much of an advantage over the other provinces in facilities and management," Lee said. "They feel the way to gain an advantage is to improve their coaching performance. They think if they can do this, they can turn out excellent athletes."
The Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sport Study Tour's full schedule includes attending seminars on sports psychology and sports medicine, as well as going to swim practices both at the youth and collegiate level to learn more about swimming techniques and training methods.