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From Maccabiah to Swim Coaching

Posted: 28-Feb-2014 by Northside Sydney Swim Club

Joshua, Kyron, Jessie and Mikaela

By Leanne Shelton

As part of a program being run by Northshore Maccabi Swimming Club, four recent Maccabiah athletes are undergoing training to become the next generation of swim teachers and coaches for Jewish kids on the North.

Mikaela Rifkin (Year 12), Kyron Israelsohn (Year 12), Jessie Klass (Year 12) and Joshua Blumberg (First Year University) are the first participants in the program and will soon be achieving their licences as ‘Teachers of Competitive Swimming’ with the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA). They are currently building up their hours on pool deck with accredited swim teachers and coaches, as well as attending courses and completing online assessments.

The swim coach initiative was the brainchild of club president, David Rifkin.
“I have had a very rich and rewarding experience with swimming; competing and coaching in different part of the world,” said David. “Whilst I have had a great commercial career, I have also coached and spent a number of years injecting my enthusiasm and love for the sport of swimming and Maccabi with the youngsters in the community.
I think that these young students will be the Maccabi, and hopefully Maccabiah, coaches of the future.”

David’s younger sister, Mikaela, has been swimming since she was five years old and was really excited to get involved in the program. “I have really had fun in the sport,” said Mikaela. “And certainly after winning the individual gold medal at the Maccabiah last year, I was very excited to share my passion with the younger kids. My mother also coaches the younger kids, babies and toddlers and I can see she really enjoys it. So when the opportunity to become a swim teacher arose, I jumped at it!” 

Mikaela already has her nationally recognised Swim Australia Teacher licence and has undertaken a CPR course with Surf Lifesaving NSW alongside Kyron, Jessie and Joshua. So what are her plans for the future?
“I am in Year 12 and not exactly sure what I will do next year. I will be at university and will definitely continue to compete and race in swimming in the pool and the ocean. I am already looking forward to the next Maccabiah in 2017! And I will definitely be swim coaching. 
There are lots of young Jewish swimmers on the North Shore and it would be great to share with them the fun of Maccabi and Maccabiah in Israel.”

Kyron Israelsohn was head-hunted by David Rifkin after a Masada school swimming carnival five years ago, where he was asked to join the Lindfield squads. By being part of the squads, Kyron gained the skills and opportunity to compete at Maccabiah last year. 
“David said that we are the future for Jewish swimming in the North and I agree with him,” said Kyron. “After all, it was David who got me competing seriously both at a State and National level and interested to compete at a Maccabiah.”

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