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Young Ryan sparks Olympic star's coaching dreams
12:00pm Saturday 21st January 2006 in Ryan Bennett
BOLTON'S Olympic swimmer, Anthony Howard, is considering moving into full time coaching when he retires from competition next year.
And if the 26-year-old has the same success he has enjoyed with his first student, he could have a bright future outside of the pool.
Anthony insists that next March's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne will mark the end of his career in the pool, despite the fact he has been getting faster and faster over the last 12 months.
The Egerton man will be able to look back on a successful eight-year spell at the top level, including one Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games, a World Championship and two European Championships.
He fancies the idea of working with the next generation of British swimmers and has got all the necessary coaching qualifications over the last few years.
Anthony's appetite for coaching has been whetted by his work with 14-year-old Ryan Bennett, who has developed into the country's number one swimmer in his age group since the two of them came together by chance four years ago.
"He was referred to me with a broken wrist," Anthony says of the Bolton Metro Swimming Squad swimmer.
"Eight months later he won the nationals and broke the British record for the 100m butterfly. The following year he won the 100m fly and took silver in the 200m fly.
"The year after that he got five national titles and broke two British records, and this year he got three national titles and two British records."
Anthony will take his time before moving into full-time coaching, insisting he will work only with Ryan until it is time for the youngster to move on.
"My priority is Ryan, and when he moves on, and goes off to university or wherever, and he needs to progress and I cannot help him any more, then I might move into coaching full time.
"Whether it will be in this country or abroad I don't know. "But I am definitely interested. I am not a very big fan of the structure of British swimming.
"We are losing a lot of kids because the talent identification is based on winners instead of who will become the best swimmers in the future.
"A 6ft 14-year-old might win his races now, but what happens when all the other swimmers grow to be 6ft and he doesn't have that advantage anymore? We should be developing them now.
"We have a bad record of developing good juniors into good seniors. I am very obsessed about technique and children's technique is not what it used to be."