Maccabi Australia announces the Nachum Buch Scholarship Fund

December 19, 2017 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Maccabi Australia has announced the establishment of the Nachum Buch Scholarship Fund, established to recognise the enormous input that Nachum has had on the Jewish swimming landscape in both Australia and Israel.

MAI president Jeff Sher [2nd left] former president Barry Smorgon rt and Nachum Buch in red

The Nachum Buch Maccabi Australia Scholarship Fund will make a single grant each year of up to $2,000 for the next 10 years to emerging swimmers to assist them on the path to achieving at an elite level.

Each year the grant will be made to the individual who best fits the criteria, and is deemed the most deserving by the selection panel. The first grant will be made in January 2018.

The scholarship will be awarded to a swimmer or water polo player on a National Basis to enable them to pay for such legitimate items as travel to tournaments, coaching expenses, registration or nomination fees and the like. The funds will be allocated by a committee that has been established to review the applicants and the Buch family will play a role in the selection process.

Both the Buch family and Maccabi Australia are delighted that this scholarship has been established to pay homage to the passion and commitment that Nachum has made to the sport of swimming both in Australia and Israel. He has coached many Jewish swimmers and has created a legacy for swimming and water polo.

Jeff Sher President of Maccabi Australia said:  “With the foresight and generosity of Nachum and his family, we are pleased to now be able provide some assistance to those athletes with a passion and commitment to succeed in aquatic sports. I sincerely thank Nachum and his family for ensuring that his legacy has continuity and look forward to awarding the deserving athlete this prestigious scholarship.”

 

At age 10 Nachum Buch started swimming in Israel whenever he could, and mainly at the reservoir in Tel Aviv where his mother would take him near his home.

At age 12 he started competing in swimming around Tel Aviv. At 15 Nachum broke the junior record for the 100 metres freestyle, after which he was invited to compete against Greece in Haifa for the Israeli national team.

At the age of 19, without much coaching, Nachum was selected to compete as the first Israeli Olympian, and competed in the 100m freestyle at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. A trailblazer, Nachum became a sporting legend in Israel.

At age 25 Nachum went to Germany to study physical education and was invited to compete for Israel in water polo against Greece. He was then invited to Yale and there undertook a swimming coaching program. He later coached Israeli teams internationally, including competitions in Ireland and Belgium, as well as to the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

After Nachum Buch moved to Australia in 1974, he coached swimmers privately and at Ajax in Melbourne, played and coached water polo and participated at four Maccabi Games for Australia as swimming coach, masters swimmer and water polo player and coach.

After Mt Scopus College opened its pool Nachum was appointed to run the swimming program and maintain the pool, which he did for 12 years until he retired.

In total Nachum competed at 15 Maccabiah Games, for Israel and Australia, in swimming and water polo.

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