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Walter Brickett: a respectable professor.

Day, Dave (2009) Walter Brickett: a respectable professor. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The social constraints that surrounded coaching lives altered during the late nineteenth century as emerging amateur sporting organisations used their increasing influence to implement an ideology that rejected professional coaches in favour of voluntarism. These governing bodies established and maintained the servant status of professional trainers through exclusionary regulations although, in some sports and with some individuals, the lines of demarcation between professional and became somewhat blurred. An established tradition of tolerance for the “educated mechanic, the intelligent working man”, was extended to include some professional coaches such as swimming professor Walter Brickett whose coaching life reveals the flexibility of boundaries and demonstrates the ways in which suitable men could bridge the amateur-professional divide. This paper narrates the biography of a man who combined his coaching of many of the leading amateurs of the early twentieth century with his training of Channel Swimmers and with earning a living as a swimming teacher. Unlike most conventional swimming professors, normally professional champions who used their competitive reputations to ply their trade as teachers and entertainers, Walter Brickett was an amateur swimmer and coach who initially earned his living as a pianoforte maker, at least until the early 1900s, when he began to be referred to as professor. In both 1908 and 1912, he was appointed as swimming trainer to the Olympic team, engagements which reflect both the tension within the amateur sports community concerning the need for coaching and training, and the type of professional coach who could be tolerated where necessary.

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