A group of about two dozen swimming coaches from Shanghai, China are in the United States for sports training from May 5-13.

Hosted by the United States Sports Academy, the Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sports Study Tour is receiving both classroom instruction and hands-on learning.

Besides seminars led by Academy faculty, the Shanghai coaches, for example, spent one day with college swimming powerhouse Auburn University. Auburn’s swimming and diving teams, now coached by Brett Hawke, have won eight men’s national championships and five women’s titles.

The Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sport Study Tour began with seminars led by Academy faculty.

The Shanghai Swim Team has been highly successful, too, winning China’s top team award the past five years and producing two medalists at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

While at Auburn, the Shanghai group toured the  athletics facilities, watched the afternoon practice session and went through a clinic led by Hawke. He emphasized the keys to selecting strong athletes, talked about characteristics of a champion and covered 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.”

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.

The Shanghai swimming coaches, hosted by the Academy, posed May 8 during their tour and training at Auburn University with the Tiger's Tyler McGill, an Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100-meter medley relay in the 2012 London Olympics.

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 here, including a track and field group that worked recently with Texas A&M University.

“Mr. Lee has done a lot of good work in sports for China,” said Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the Academy’s president and CEO. “Working with him, we have helped to develop a great program that includes training with one of the best swimming teams in the United States at Auburn.”

In China, Lee explained, each of the 34 province-level divisions are responsible for running independent sports programs. Shanghai’s is ranked third in the country. He said Chinese sports professionals have a strong desire to learn more from the West to enhance their own sports programs.

“Shanghai sports doesn’t have too 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. Besides the Academy and Auburn, they also worked with both Bishop State Community College and TNT Swimming, an elite youth swimming team based in Daphne, Ala.

Liu Li Ping said she and other Shanghai members learned a lot of useful information that they can use to be better coaches and to help their athletes improve. The group leader, Ping is the Director of Foreign Affairs of the Shanghai Sports Administration and won a bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in women’s Team Handball.
“This helped our coaches understand theory about swimming, training methods, planning and the psychology of athletes,” Ping said. “The instruction was very detailed and helpful.”

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit the Academy’s website www.ussa.edu.