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Artem Goncharenko steps down as Malta swimming head coach

Calls authorities to provide more facilities if sport is to continue to grow

The Aquatic Sports Association of Malta is looking for a new national team head coach for swimming after Artem Goncharenko tendered his resignation.

Goncharenko had been in charge of the national team swimmers for the past five-and-a-half years but has now decided to leave the job after he accepted an attractive offer from the Ukrainian swimming federation and will now return home.

“I have decided to step down from my job of Malta national team coach,” Goncharenko told the Times of Malta on Monday.

“I was very happy working for the ASA and I had an agreement with them but in the last few weeks I received a very good offer from the Ukrainian federation to return home and work for them and I decided to accept their proposal.

“I am somewhat sad to leave Malta as for the past five-and-a-half years I felt that we have worked really well with the ASA to try and improve the level of swimming in Malta and I think that we have helped a lot of swimmers to step up their level.

“It’s important for me to put on record my appreciation towards the ASA and in particular president Joe Caruana Curran who gave me the chance to be the swimming coach of a national team for the first time in my career and during this time I have gained a lot of experience.”

On his part, ASA president Joe Caruana Curran paid tribute to Goncharenko.

“I only have words of praise for Artem Goncharenko who has carried out an invaluable job for us in the last years,” Caruana Curran said.

“Obviously, I feel sad that he is leaving us as we had plans in place for him to lead our swimmers for the Malta GSSE in 2023 and beyond. But unfortunately, he received a big offer from one of the major countries in swimming, Ukraine, which he could not turn down.

“I wish him the best of luck for all his future endeavours.”

Goncharenko said that ASA is working really well towards the development of Maltese swimmers however, their efforts are not being recognised enough by the authorities.

Asked to delve more on the subject Goncharenko said: “In my opinion the ASA is doing a great job. The coaches and the swimmers are putting in a lot of sacrifices to try and raise the level of the sport. We have worked hard to provide coaching education to local coaches so that we provide the best assistance to our swimmers.

“However, our work is not appreciated enough by the authorities. Whenever we attend meetings we are always given the message to send swimmers abroad where they can train much better and improve as if coaches here in Malta are not good enough.

“If you look at the results attained in the last years it shows that our swimmers have improved much better this year. Take Sasha Gatt, she not only qualified for the Olympic Games but reached the European Junior Championship final and was the second fasters swimmer in her age-group that included around 2,500 swimmers from all over Europe.

“In Malta we have a lot of good coaches but they need to be given more support.”

Goncharenko said that one major improvement needed is to provide swimmers and coaches better conditions if the sport is to continue to grow.

“Swimmers need to be given much better conditions to train in if they are to improve their level of performance,” the Ukrainian said.

“It’s unacceptable that swimmers have only one proper 50m pool to train in and the only time they have their lanes available for them is at 5.30 in the morning. To train so early in the morning is certainly not good for the swimmers and that is one major area that it needs to be changed.

“That is why it is important that clubs should be assisted to have proper facilities to hold their training sessions in them and in doing that one can leave the National Pool only for elite athletes training and to stage major competitions.”

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