The forerunner of a national organisation representing the interests of swimming Coaches and swimming and water safety Teachers was an ad hoc group of State Swimming Associations borne out of a desire to exchange and share ideas related to swimming coaching and teaching.
The Victorian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association formed in 1964/65 with Tom Donnett Senior as the first President and Paul Quinlan the first Secretary. Interestingly, Tom Donnett Junior and later his son Tom Donnett III all were involved with the Victorian Association. The Victorian Association later changed its name to the Victorian Swimming Coaches Association as it was considered that all Teachers were also Coaches and the name was a bit of a mouthful.
The Victorian Association in conjunction with Victorian Swimming (as it was then known) developed a Diploma in Swimming Coaching with support from the Rothmans National Sporting Foundation (a tobacco Company sponsored sporting fund) which was the forerunner of later coaching courses.
Queensland formed an association and affiliated with Queensland Swimming in 1967. Ross Gage was one of the earlier Secretaries of this association, then went on to serve on the ASCA and later ASCTA National Board for 25 years before taking on the ASCTA CEO position. Other highlights for Queensland were the appointment in 1976 of their first State Director of Coaching, Bill Sweetenham (later AIS Coach and Great Britain Head Coach) succeeded by Arthur Cusack, Brett Sutton, Scott Volkers, Vince Raleigh and Michael Bohl all high performance Coaches of note. 1992 saw the appointment of Brendan Burkett as a Development Officer for Swimmers with a Disability. Brendan went on to swim as a Para-Olympian in 1996.
In the early 1970’s A New South Wales Association was formed and organised swim clinics at Narrabeen.
A short time later a contamination of condies crystals in the Drummoyne Pool during the National Titles necessitated the pool being hurriedly emptied between the heats and finals. During this downtime a group of Coaches discussed the need for a national organisation to service the needs of Coaches and Teachers. From this came a loose collective association.
Speedo and John Devitt assisted in getting international Coaches to travel to Australia and conduct tours with lectures to coaches. Notable visitors were Doc Counsilman (USA) and George Haines (USA) in the late 1960’s; Mark Schubert (USA) in 1974, returning again to Queensland in 1986 when he was the Coach of the highly successful Mission Viejo Club; Don Talbot (AUS) when he was coaching in Canada; Ernie and later Cheryl Maglischo (USA) 1984; Gennadi Touretski (USSR) 1992 who helped growth interaction between Coaches in Australia and improve the professionalism of the industry. 1973 – 1974 saw three Coaches from Russia as well as Forbes Carlile from NSW, Peter Daland (USA) and Arne Holdt from Denmark all visit Queensland.
1979 saw the first National Coaches Convention on the Gold Coast at the Greenmount Resort. Discussions over the hotel bar amongst the 80 to 90 attendees centred on the need for a more formalised organisation. 1980 saw a second convention held at Greenmount with about 120 in attendance and the formalisation of a constituted national swimming coaches association.
Australian Coach, Terry Gathercole who served as President of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) upon his return to Australia became a leading light on the direction of the Australian Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA). Terry went on to be the first President of ASCA to serve on the board of Amateur Swimming Union of Australia which in 1985 evolved into Australian Swimming. Forbes Carlile, ASCTA’s second life member was the first representative of ASCA’s on the board of Australian Swimming when the revised constitution granted representation to ASCA on the board of Australian Swimming. Another stalwart of ASCA, Doug McGufficke from the Northern Territory followed soon after.
In the lead up to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the first Level 2 and Level 3 Coaching Courses (forerunner of the present day Silver and Gold Coaching Courses) were held in Canberra at the recently opened Australian Institute of Sport over 10 days with many of the current high performance coaches in attendance including a young Leigh Nugent doing his Level 2 coaching course!
Paul Quinlan was appointed the first National Director of Coaching and worked for both the Australian Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) and Australian Swimming (now Swimming Australia) in a volunteer position for two years then paid by Australian Swimming for two years.
Coaching Conferences were held in Sydney in 1985 and later in Melbourne and Adelaide in the early years but they have been a regular event on the Gold Coast for many years now, with 16 concurrent conventions held annually.
In 1988 step grants and scholarships based on coaches performances were introduced.
In 1994 Michael Ursu was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) and in 1996 the association changed its name to the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA).
Dr. Ralph Richards was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2006 and was followed by Ross Gage in 2009. David Speechley was Chief Executive Officer from 2015 until Brendon Ward was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2017.
Countless Coaches and Teachers have given their time in an honorary capacity on state and national coaching and teaching associations as board Members over the years have driven the organisation.