Swimmers from the Eastern Strategic Swim Squad and the Aquatic Academy were treated to swimming clinics instructed by Australian International Coach, Craig Jackson. He was on a short visit to South Africa with his family. Craig motivated young swimmers and wowed them with times and training schedules expected of his Australian squad. Swimmers then took to the water to practice training drills, and techniques, under his instruction. The morning session lasted 4 hours and the afternoon over 2 hours. Craig worked through all four strokes, and the necessary turns. He emphasised the Fifth stroke the underwater breakout. Swimmers need to break the surface on or before 15m on every turn and start. In short course events (25m pool) more time and distance is worked under water than on top - hence the title - Fifth Stroke.
Craig was a member of the South African Olympic Team that competed in Barcelona, in 1992. He was a 200m butterfly specialist. He attended Southern Methodist University in the States on a swimming bursary where he attained a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Whilst studying, he had to compete for the university, train 5 to 6 hours a day and travel practically every weekend to compete all over the States.
Craig relocated to Australia in 2008 and has worked his way up to a Podium Coach position at the Melbourne Vic Centre. He has qualified to hold an Australian Gold Coaching license. And is responsible for a small, very elite squad of swimmers that are all swimming Australian National times. 2 swimmers qualified to represent Australia at the recent world championships in Kazan, Russia. One of his young protgés (Mack Horton) was seeded first for the 1500m event, but narrowly missed the final. He did however do well in the 800m to win a bronze. Mack is known as one of the most economical swimmers in the world, travelling more that 3m with each and every arm stroke.
Craig was awarded Top Autralian Age Group Coach for 3 years running, before being promoted to the Podium Coach position.
Craig founded a swimming Club known as Mustangs more than 22 years ago here in South Africa. The club was based at a local private school on the East Rand. Unfortunately the club folded last year, after notice was served on them to vacate. It is sad to see coaches of Craig Jackson's calibre leaving SA to coach overseas swimmers.
We lost Tomas Ansorg, as well, due to lack of training facilities here in South Africa. He is now Head Coach at one of the largest clubs in New Zealand (North Shore based inAuckland). Some our past swimmers (the Kindervater girls) are now in his care in Auckland.