Mumbai: A grassroot level swimming programme named after the most successful swimmer at the Olympic Games, American superstar Michael Phelps, is set to be launched in Mumbai first on April 11 before it spreads its wings to other parts of the country.
Cathy Bennett, the childhood coach of Phelps who clinched a staggering 18 Olympic gold medals spread across three Games from 2004 to 2012 and 26 world titles, is the moving force behind the 'Michael Phelps Swimming Programme' which has been brought to India by 'Waveline Sports'.
"I have taught thousands of children to swim. Michael who was with me between the ages of 5 and 7. We want to grow the sport of swimming in India. We will be training the trainers," she said at a media conference in Mumbai.
"Phelps has changed the profile of swimming in USA. We want to do it in India," she added. Phelps is the owner, president and CEO of the programme - developed by Bennett -- which is taught in over 30 states in the US and in over 20 countries across six continents. "Our focus will be to tie up with recreational clubs, sports clubs and schools who have swimming facilities," said Waveline's founder, Mohsin Kazi.
"The aim is to take it to 50,000 children and 100 schools across India," said a representative of 'Sports Gurukul', which has the mandate to take it countrywide. Among the partners for the programme in Mumbai are Ajmera Global School, Ryan International Schools, Body Rhythm Club, I Land Sports Academy, Matunga Gymkhana and Sports Gurukul. "The fees would be around Rs 2,500," said Kazi.
Though initially the focus is on grassroots swimming, there are plans to scout for talent in the country who can go further and make a big splash in competitions, he explained. Kazi, however, said presently there were no plans to get into a tie-up with the Swimming Federation of India or its state affiliates to develop competitive swimmers.