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World-class diving coach to head up SASI team

10 February 2014

Olympic medal winning coach Michel Larouche has been recruited to lead a new high performance diving program in Adelaide.

The appointment is aimed at increasing Australia's ability to produce world-class divers.

Mr Larouche is currently the National Head Coach of the Canadian Diving Team and is expected to arrive in Adelaide in April.

His appointment is part of a wider expansion of Diving Australia’s high performance program, which will see two Performance Pillars set up in Adelaide and Sydney, to complement the Brisbane base.

The Adelaide Performance Pillar is supported by the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) and will be based at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre (SAALC) in Marion.

Mr Larouche has coached top Canadian divers such as Alexandre Despatie, Roseline Filion, Meaghan Benfeito and Émilie Heymans. After a 12-year career as a competitive diver, which included a national junior title and two Canada Games gold medals, Mr Larouche joined Montreal's CAMO Club as a coach in 1985. By 1989 he was the head coach of the club, which is now recognized as one of the best diving clubs in the world. He enjoyed his finest moments at the 2003 world championships in Barcelona when Alexandre Despatie and Émilie Heymans swept the tower gold events to beat the Chinese divers. Mr Larouche has coached at the Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), and Athens (2004) Olympic Games and is a six-time winner of Diving Canada's Senior Coach of the Year award.

The SASI diving program has a long and successful history of developing many of Australia’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games divers including Robert Newbery, Lynda Folauhola and Rachel Bugg.

SASI Director Wes Battams said the SAALC’s diving facilities combined with the dedicated SASI dry land training, recovery and conditioning facilities make the SAALC one of the world’s best environments for diving training.

"The SAALC facilities have set the benchmark in Australia and internationally - it has the unique arrangement where divers can walk straight from the dry land trampoline and pit training area on to the platforms," Mr Battams said.
"These facilities in partnership with the coaching experience of Mr Larouche will elevate the status of the SASI program to a truly world-class high performance centre."

The SAALC was recently announced as the State’s only Podium Performance Centre - part of Swimming Australia's push to provide the world’s best environment and support for swimmers and coaches as they strive for international podium success in Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

The Podium Performance Centre will see the SAALC, YMCA, SASI and the Marion Swimming Club combine their strengths to provide a high performance pathway for swimmers in SA.

SASI diver