Disaster Response

August 29th, 2014

By David

A “disaster” is defined as a calamitous event, especially one causing great damage or hardship “Response” is defined as an answer or reply, as in words or in some action.

Well, swimming in New Zealand has had the disaster. With the exception of Lauren Boyle it’s never been much worse than in 2014 in Glasgow and Brisbane. Twin disasters, half a world apart and within a month of each other; who would believe it was possible? But we stood and watched in awe as it happened before our very eyes.  And this week we got the response. Renford and Villanueva gave us their wisdom from Swimming New Zealand’s Mount Sinai, 17 Antares Place, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 0632. And according to dan Cooper of New Zealand Radio Sport this is what Christian and Luis had to say.

Swimming New Zealand’s staying composed over a generally below-par performance at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships. Swimming NZ CEO Christian Renford says they’re not going to start sounding alarm bells. He says they need to take in multiple considerations like a few injuries and illnesses they had while the programme was on. Christian Renford says as with every other year, they’ll be undertaking a full review as to where exactly they can improve on.

-

High performance director Luis Villanueva says what happened in the buildup to both events needs to be put under the microscope. “We need to review what we are doing in preparation with some of the swimmers, some of the swimmers that haven’t performed well this year, and see how can we help them to be better prepared next year.” Villanueva says the review is urgent, considering they’re into the second half of their four-year cycle leading up to the 2016 Olympics. He says a thorough review will focus on what went wrong in the lead-up to both events. “We need to think about how to do it better next time. It’s just that if you are not able to perform at your best in a competition like this it’s because your preparation wasn’t as good as it should be.

Far be it from me to question proclamations made from this most sacred of places by these most spiritual of men. But have you ever read such a pile of rubbish in all your life? I can only hope Villanueva is well advanced in his plans to return to Spain and Renford has put the sale of his Sydney home on hold. Let’s take a closer look at what they had to say; Renford first.

“Renford says they’re not going to start sounding alarm bells”

I’m afraid the parlous condition of Swimming New Zealand is well in need of sounding alarm bells. The patient is in need of life support and the medical staff have no idea how the machines work. The London Olympics were two years ago. The Rio Olympic are in two year’s time. And right now swimming in New Zealand has demonstrated it is worse than it has ever been. From what I’ve heard Boyle thinks the organization is a joke. Certainly she disappeared to Spain to complete her preparation for Glasgow and Brisbane. And Synders fled to Los Angeles, a year ago, to train with US coach, Dave Salo.

“multiple considerations like a few injuries and illnesses”

I do hope no one falls for that pathetic line. In my experience blaming injury and illness is usually the gutless way weak sporting people try and excuse poor results. Unable to face the reality of their shortcomings they blame a sore finger or a night time cough. Unfortunately the excuse is likely to be repeated and sold for all its worth. Miskimmin, at Sport New Zealand, is so committed to this swim team he is likely to encourage the full state PR machine into action; selling the injury and illness propaganda. Renford needs to face reality – his swim team lost; was beaten out of sight and his organization, the Mazda gang, was responsible. No excuse will alter Renford’s failure or excuse the fiasco of this month.          

“as with every other year, they’ll be undertaking a full review”

A full review? What a pathetic joke.

Is Renford really telling New Zealand that the disasters of Glasgow and Brisbane came after several “full reviews”? Wow, well they clearly don’t work. If all these previous reviews produced the Glasgow and Brisbane result, what on God’s good earth leads Renford to think another review now is going to produce a different result. The message clearly is that Swimming New Zealand reviews don’t work.

Besides I don’t think whatever Swimming New Zealand does will resemble anything like a “full review”. What this will be is a frantic effort to find excuses; to paper over the cracks; to hide from reality; to justify the next $2,000,000; to protect a crumbling empire. This will not be a searching inquiry into what went wrong. This will not examine the core issues. Is Miskimmin’s centralised policy of elite swimming delivery working? Is there a better and more effective way of delivering successful swimming results? Would a diverse and democratic federal structure deliver better competitive performances?

Of course no Swimming New Zealand review is going to look at these crucial issues. Miskimmin would never allow it. Like every other review conducted by that tragic organization, this one will fail. The real problem, the central issue, will never be addressed. If Swimming New Zealand was prepared to debate this most fundamental question then, no matter how much they might dislike the author of Swimwatch, they would seek out his opinion. After all, these pages have been most vocal in proposing an alternative solution. What say we are right? What say a federal structure of powerful regions is better? What say, resourcing the club coaches of New Zealand is a superior way? What say trusting us to do our job works? We will never know. Miskimmin, Layton, Renford, Villanueva and Lyles will never ask. Their life is justifying the status quo. Sadly New Zealand swimmers pay for their incompetence.

Villanueva says what happened in the buildup to both events needs to be put under the microscope

Villanueva is in no position to examine anything. New Zealand people financed his plan, paid for his high altitude camps in Arizona and Spain, funded his pre-meet tour of Mediterranean coastal resorts and it didn’t work. Villanueva’s plan failed. Extravagance on this scale does not come with second chances. Villanueva was given free rein and a bucket of money and returned empty handed. When that happens the only honourable thing is for Villanueva to quietly resign and catch the next flight to Barcelona. Failure on this scale, at this cost, demands no less.

“if you are not able to perform at your best in a competition like this it’s because your preparation wasn’t as good as it should be.”

Actually it does not mean that at all. It may mean the policy Villanueva and his bosses, Layton and Renford, are following is doomed from the start. Jan Cameron tried the same centralized delivery system and couldn’t make it work. And she was a far better manager than Luis Villanueva. The guy who sits on the right hand of God could try and win a swimming race using Miskimmin’s model and would fail. The policy will not work.

Swimming in New Zealand has to trust Duncan in Invercargill, Jones in Ashburton, Mahan in Christchurch, Labara in Dunedin, Francis in Wellington, Winter in Paraparaumu, Nicholls in Palmerston North, Benson in Hastings, Hardgrave-Booth in Napier, Meade in Gisborne, Fitch in Hamilton, Daniela in Tauranga, Miehe and Judith Wright in Auckland, Girbin in Whangarei and even Wright in west Auckland and a score of others I’ve missed, but I’m sure you get the idea. New Zealand coaches need to claim back responsibility for the performance of the nation’s national team from those who have not been able to deliver. We will do better than the Mazda gang. It would be difficult to do worse. We will not let down the country or its swimmers.

The Start of Something Extraordinary?

August 25th, 2014

By David

I have just read Simon Plumb’s review of Swimming New Zealand (“NZ Team Swims Against Tide of Change”) posted on the Stuff website. He’s correct of course; every last word is right on the button. But I think there is more.

It was always ridiculously naïve to think that the wholesale replacement of the old Swimming New Zealand staff; that’s High Performance Director Jan Cameron, Head Coach Mark Regan and CEO Mike Byrne was going to revolutionize Swimming New Zealand. It is a common Miskimmin tactic; preferring to blame the personnel for poor performance rather than the deficiencies of his policy. But, the lowly performance of Swimming New Zealand was never about personalities. Many Swimwatch readers assumed I disliked Jan Cameron, Mark Regan and Mike Byrne. That was never true.

What I disliked and totally opposed was their centralized system of elite sport delivery; the folly of the Millennium Institute. The idea that one coach can fit all, the self-seeking allocation of millions to one privileged group, the socialist involvement of the government in an Auckland swim school and the devaluing, lack of trust directed at every club coach in the country has always been repulsive.

And under the new regime that hasn’t changed. If anything I think Regan was a far better coach than Lyles. Regan was clearly better for Boyle. Certainly Jan Cameron was light years better than Luis Villanueva. She expressed herself better and was clearly a more decisive and superior manager. Renford and Byrne are as different as chalk and cheese but the end result is about the same: so much of what they do is flat out wrong. For example their website trumpets that Swimming New Zealand is, “The start of something extraordinary” and yet when I go to their “Find a Club” page I notice that my club, West Auckland Aquatics, isn’t there. I wonder why? Swimwatch perhaps? Renford’s Swimming New Zealand can’t even get our name on their website list of New Zealand clubs; the club that was the home of National Coaches Ross Anderson and Donna Bouzaid that was the nursery of Lauren Boyle and gave New Zealand national representatives, John Steel, Johnny Munro. Ross Anderson Junior, Paul Kent, Jane Ip, Daniel Bell, Nick Sanders, Mark Herring, Brad Herring and a few that I’ve missed. Renford is right; this clearly is, “The start of something extraordinary.”

Overall the new management gang of Renford, Lyles and Villanueva is weaker than the team they replaced. Which means, of course, that if Jan Cameron couldn’t make her centralized policy of elite sport delivery work, the current gang have no chance. And that’s the way it’s turning out.

I know Miskimmin, at Sport New Zealand, is obsessed with what he calls “podium finishes”. However progress in a sport like swimming is more accurately measured by personal best times. The government’s Millennium swim school in Glasgow performed poorly, not only because Lauren Boyle was the sole medallist. The real disaster was the 11% personal best ratio. Only two swimmers, Boyle and Main, swam personal best times. Any normal team looks for a personal best ratio well over 50%. That was the tragedy of Glasgow. And the fact it was a whole team that failed tells me the fault lies fair and square with those who prepared the swimmers. Individual swimmers can let themselves and the team down occasionally, but when a whole team disintegrates, that’s a coaching and administration problem. Renford, Lyles and Villanueva take a bow.

So what happened in Brisbane? Villanueva threatened career decapitation if the swimmers did not improve; a threat I always thought was disingenuous and should have been directed at him and his fellow Mazda gang members. The table below lists the New Zealand performances at the 2014 Pan Pacific Games.

NAME

EVENT

TIME

PB

PODIUM PLACE

S. Lucie-Smith

200 Free

2.00.52

No

-

S. Lucie-Smith

200 Free

2.00.75

No

-

E Robson

200 Free

2.04.51

No

-

M Stanley

200 Free

1.48.74

No

-

M Stanley

200 Free

1.47.33

No

-

S Kent

200 Free

1.49.00

Yes

-

S Kent

200 Free

1.49.71

No

-

D Dunlop Barrett

200 Free

1.50.01

No

-

D Dunlop Barrett

200 Free

1.49.30

No

-

M Donaldson

200 Free

1.50.37

No

-

E Jackson

200 Free

1.51.39

No

-

C Main

100 Back

55.16

No

-

C Main

100 Back

54.70

No

-

E Robson

800 Free

8.49.80

No

-

S Lee

200 Fly

2.13.85

No

-

S Lee

200 Fly

2.13.08

No

-

L Boyle

800 Free

8.18.87

No

2nd

G Snyders

100 Breast

1.00.41

No

-

G Snyders

100 Breast

1.00.18

No

3rd

L Quilter

100 Free

55.87

No

-

L Quilter

100 Free

56.00

No

-

S Lucie Smith

100 Free

56.25

No

-

S Lucie Smith

100 Free

55.97

No

-

S Lee

100 Free

57.52

No

-

S Kent

100 Free

50.92

No

-

E Jackson

100 Free

51.24

No

-

Relay

4×200 Free W

8.04.58

No

-

Relay

4×200 Free M

7.13.83

Yes

-

S Lee

100 Fly

1.00.81

No

-

S Lee

100 Fly

1.00.44

No

-

L Quilter

100 Fly

1.01.00

No

-

L Boyle

400 Free

4.08.64

No

-

L Boyle

400 Free

4.05.33

No

3rd

E Robson

400 Free

4.16.63

No

-

E Robson

400 Free

4.15.92

No

-

S Lucie Smith

400 Free

4.18.49

No

-

S Lucie Smith

400 Free

4.15.19

No

-

M Stanley

400 Free

3.53.33

No

-

M Stanley

400 Free

3.50.75

No

-

D Dunlop Barrett

400 Free

3.54.05

No

-

D Dunlop Barrett

400 Free

3.53.96

No

-

E Jackson

400 Free

3.55.34

Yes

-

E Jackson

400 Free

3.52.32

Yes

-

C Main

200 Back

1.59.85

No

-

C Main

200 Back

1.59.63

No

-

Relay

4×100 Free W

3.47.51

No

-

M Donaldson

200 IM

2.01.45

No

-

M Donaldson

200 IM

2.01.34

No

-

L Quilter

50 Free

26.01

Yes

-

G Snyders

200 Breast

2.13.77

No

-

L Boyle

1500 Free

15.55.69

No

2nd

E Robinson

1500 Free

16.44.88

No

-

L Quilter

50 Free

26.10

No

-

Relay

4×100 M M

3.38.46

No

-

Summary

54 Swims

-

5 PBs

9%

Summary

0 Gold

2 Silver

2 Bronze

 

As far as I know there is not a swimming observer on the planet that would call an 9% personal best ratio, “the start of something extraordinary”. It is terrible. Every club coach in New Zealand would hide in shame at that result. When the Millennium swim school spends $2,000,000 preparing a women’s relay team that finishes 15 seconds, that’s the length of a 25m pool, behind the Australians, that’s the start of something pretty bloody abysmal.

Out of the 12 Pan Pacific Games held since 1985 the 2014 performance ranks 5th. New Zealand swimmers performed better in 1993, 1995, 1991 and 1985; before the days of $2,000,000 per year government grants, Mazda cars, Whole of Sport Plans and Millennium Institutes; before Miskimmin, Layton, Renford, Lyles and Villanueva. But give Villanueva credit, he is right about one thing; those responsible should pack their bags and leave New Zealand sport immediately. Miskimmin, Renford, Lyles, Villanueva and Layton, hasta la vista baby – Villanueva has told us, it’s time for you to go. The damage has been too great.

PS I see Swimming New Zealand have taken to publishing rubbish on their new website. Besides leaving our club off altogether, this week they announced the following stunning bit of news; “New Zealand has only won multiple individual medals four times previously at the Pan Pacific Championships.” That’s simply not true. I hope it is not a deliberate effort to misinform. SNZ has done that before. Multiple medals were won by New Zealand teams at the 1993 (5), 1995 (4), 1991 (3), 1989 (3) and 1997 (3). That’s five times. Really SNZ couldn’t – lie straight in bed that is.

Year

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Rank

1993

1

1

3

1

1995

1

1

2

2

1991

1

1

1

3

1985

1

-

-

4

2014

2

2

5

1989

-

1

2

6

1997

-

-

3

7

1987, 2010

-

-

1

8=

1999, 2002,2006

-

-

-

10=

 

PPS Swimwatch sources tell me rumours are rife in Spain that Villanueva is on his way back to Spain after the Presidential election in 2015. If that’s true Villanueva needs to come clean immediately and let the sport in New Zealand know. A person in his position is able to make many important decisions. It is not a position that should be occupied by a lame duck member of Miskimmin’s Mazda gang for another twelve months.

If it is true, Swimwatch will not be sad to see him go. However the critical decision is who will replace Villanueva? And will that replacement move the sport away from the failed policy of centralization and breathe life back into New Zealand’s domestic coaching talent. For that is where the future lies.

 

Fair And Balanced

August 21st, 2014

By David

In our last Swimwatch article, An Open Letter to FINA, I posted a comment referring to some of the less intelligent observations made about the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. I resisted the temptation to turn their efforts into a separate blog. That would have been given them way too much oxygen. No, down towards the bottom of the comment’s page was more in keeping with their lack of accuracy. After all the discussion and debate it is difficult to understand how people like Bone and Fitch can’t understand that this is about safety and fairness. Right or wrong, do they suck up to a wanting organization because that what they always do? I don’t know.

However for every odd ball there are observers who do get the point; who do understand the issues. Here are three emails received today; one from New Zealand and two from overseas.

Correspondent One:

“On 22 June 2003 a Policy document was approved by the then SNZ Council “To provide clear guidelines for the allocation and safe management of SNZ national competitions.

It opened with the following, categorical statement:

“All SNZ national competition facilities shall adhere to the FINA minimum facility standards and SNZ minimum facility standards.”

And then followed up with:

“SNZ may waive certain standards for pools if they do not materially interfere with the running of the competitions; compromise the health and safety of competitors, officials or spectators; or expose SNZ to undue legal or financial risk. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis by SNZ Council.”

There then followed a list of suitable pools in which the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was clearly labeled – “Pool does not meet FINA Minimum standard but is approved by SNZ for designated competitions.”

The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was ruled by Swimming New Zealand as a FINA non-compliant pool back in 2003 and it has not changed since then.”

So SNZ have a policy document, a book of rules that says about the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, Pool does not meet FINA Minimum standard”. Can anyone then explain to me how Renford and Meehan can sign a record application that says, “In my opinion all FINA Rules have been met.” Both those things simply cannot be true. Is someone telling porkies in order to get a record; in order to cover up a decade of neglect? “All FINA rules have been met”, “Pool does not meet FINA Minimum standard. I’d love to hear Renford explaining that to the bosses of FINA.

Correspondent Two:

I think that many do not fully understand concerns about the lack of safety and technical non validity of this pool. The general swimming community has and will continue to rely on the ability of Swimming New Zealand to be aware of and to enforce the rules for FINA pool compliance. They put their trust in SNZ to get it right. This situation is quite different from the situation surrounding many of the other rule applications for the sport where an individual carries the responsibility of compliance. Rules pertaining to swim strokes, turns and starts are learnt as soon as a person becomes a competitive swimmer. To disregard these rules usually means a DQ for a swimmer. Such rules, as you know, are widely circulated and are enforced at the grass roots and upwards in the swimming world. But technical standards are not really thought about; a pool is just a pool to most.

Of course pool depth standards, water current circulation concerns etc are no different from the requirements of FINA for competition swimming such as the stroke, turn and start rules in so far as they all attempt to provide a relatively level playing field for those competing. Championship meets and their rules must be enforced by regional and national organisations to provide this level playing field and to care for the safety of all swimmers, as individuals may be unaware of these rules.

Most of our pools in this country are very shallow, at least at one end of a pool. Most swimmers train in this type of pool. Swimmers in general accept the shortfalls of these pools as these facilities are usually the only ones readily available. Swimmers have become accustomed to shallow pool swimming and consider that they cope well adjusting their dives and turns to minimal water depth. As a result there appears to be complacency in the swimming community to pool design, required FINA standards and the safety needs of pool users. (We in New Zealand are often just grateful to have a local pool nearby to be able to use). However, it does not excuse Swimming New Zealand from not observing and enforcing FINA standards.  Looking after our swimmers including our best swimmers is that organisation’s primary role. In my opinion SNZ should be apologising to Lauren Boyle for not having addressed the inadequacy of the Wellington pool long before her excellent world class swim there in recent days. Certainly they as an organisation have been well aware of the shortcomings of this pool well before Lauren’s recent award swimming there.

As the swimming community requires and relies on SNZ to observe FINA’s rules for the sport, it would also be helpful if this organisation  was proactive in publishing a list of complying FINA pools so that every coach, swimmer and club is aware of the pools that comply in this country.”

No comment from me is required. I endorse all this correspondent says – especially, “However, it does not excuse Swimming New Zealand from not observing and enforcing FINA standards.  Looking after our swimmers including our best swimmers is that organisation’s primary role. In my opinion, SNZ has failed in that duty.

Correspondent Three:

“The Wellington City Council swim schools have a policy that pupils are not allowed to dive into water that is 1.2m or less. That applies to all their pools. Shame it doesn’t apply or is enforced to those who hire the pool! All pools have a Health & Safety rep who can verify this ruling and the main council office has a Health & Safety officer (couldn’t find out his name but who knows the rule book inside out). Just a thought.”

I wonder if SNZ are in violation of Wellington City Council rules when they use that shallow end? I’m off to contact that Health and Safety officer to find out. SNZ, Layton and Renford – fix that pool.

An Open Letter to FINA

August 16th, 2014

Dear Sir,

SWIMMING NEW ZEALAND DEFECTIVE WORLD RECORD APPLICATION

We have been told by the CEO of Swimming New Zealand, Christian Renford, that an Application for a World Record will be submitted to FINA in the next seven days. The Application will be for a short course swim by Lauren Boyle over 1500 metres at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre on Saturday 9th August 2014.

We believe there are a number of errors in this Application that need to be investigated by FINA and which, in our opinion, should cause FINA to decline this swim as a world record. We note that FINA rule SW 12.15 requires that “on receipt of the application and upon satisfaction that the information contained in the application, including a negative doping control test certificate, is accurate, the Honorary Secretary of FINA shall declare the new World Record”.

We believe the application is not accurate. We recommend that the following factors should be investigated by FINA. We are further of the view that if any or all of these items are confirmed the record application must be declined. The integrity of FINA’s rules and the world record setting process is sufficiently important that applications, like this one, that fail to meet FINA standards should be declined.

SW 12.5.2 Where a moveable bulkhead is used, course measurement of the lane must be confirmed at the conclusion of the session during which the time was achieved.

This 1500 swim was achieved in a pool where a moveable bulkhead is used. We ask FINA to establish that the course measurement of the lane used was undertaken at the conclusion of the Saturday evening session on the 9th August 2014. We have reason to believe that course measurement was not confirmed until after the meet, during the week commencing Monday 11th August 2014. In that time, of course, the bulkhead could have moved. We will never know. We note that the World Record Application Form also requires confirmation that the pool was properly measured immediately at the conclusion of the Saturday evening session. We are concerned this question may have been answered and signed by the meet referee and Swimming New Zealand’s representative improperly.

SW 12.12 Applications for World Records must be made on the FINA official forms (see next page) by the responsible authority of the organising or management committee of the competition and signed by an authorised representative of the Member in the country of the swimmer, certifying that all regulations have been observed including a negative doping test certification (DC 5.3.2).

We understand the Record Application Form has been signed by Matt Meehan as the “responsible authority of the management committee” and by Christian Renford as the “authorised representative of the Member”. We believe the form has been signed improperly. We believe both Meehan and Renford are aware that the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, used in this record attempt, had shortcomings during the 1500 metre swim that were in violation of FINA rules; shortcomings that should have prevented Meehan and Renford signing the Record Application Form. In particular we refer to the following questions from the application form.

WORLD RECORD APPLICATION FORM

DEMANDE D’HOMOLOGATION DE RECORD DU MONDE

13. Was the water still? / L’eau du bassin était-elle calme?

The presence of a material current in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre has been well documented for at least 15 years. The current was the subject of a formal protest submitted to the Auckland Region of SNZ a week before Boyle’s 1500 metre swim. The following information was included in the protest.

“Competing in a pool that does not comply with FINA Facility rules FR1.3 and FR2.11. Rule FR2.11 says, “During competition the water in the pool must be kept at a constant level with no appreciable movement. In order to observe health regulations in force in most countries, inflow and outflow is permissible as long as no appreciable current or turbulence is created.” Compelling evidence exists to show an “appreciable current” is present in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.

To test this we selected, at random, seven events from the New Zealand National SC Championships at distances of 200 and 400 meters. We analysed the performance of the winners of each of these events. We chose to examine the performance of the winners of each of the seven events because we believed these stronger swimmers should be least affected by any current and they could also be best expected to swim even lap times.

If their swimming was affected the current must be considered “appreciable”.

In all cases we did not include the first length in our evaluation as the time swum was affected by the dive start.

The table below shows the product of our analysis. The following points summarize these findings.

  1. In every event, male and female, there is a consistent variation between the times taken to swim in one direction compared to the other direction.
  2. The average variation over all events between the “into current” and “with current” lengths is 0.74 seconds per 25m length. What that means is that on average New Zealand’s best swimmers consistently took 0.74 of a second longer to swim one way in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre than in the other direction. By any standard that meets the definition of “appreciable”; appreciable in terms of variation and its only explanation – a current.        

Event

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Even Av

Odd Av

F200 Br

17.60

19.08

17.99

19.55

18.33

19.72

19.11

18.26

19.45

F400Fr

15.26

16.49

15.65

16.06

15.61

16.31

15.50

15.51

16.29

M400Fr

14.32

14.95

14.30

14.87

14.67

14.69

14.79

14.52

14.91

F200Bk

15.82

16.56

16.18

16.43

15.99

16.57

15.63

15.91

16.52

M200Bk

14.74

15.67

15.13

14.94

14.26

15.65

13.81

14.49

15.42

F200Fl

15.83

16.86

16.41

17.34

16.91

17.55

15.93

16.27

17.25

M200Fl

14.48

15.61

15.21

14.88

14.72

15.33

15.25

14.92

15.27

Average

Per

25m

15.70

16.44

Conclusion

This protest is filed with a request that:

  1. The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre be ruled in violation of FINA rule FR2.11 and as such is a non-complying facility.

In addition to the information contained in the protest, 25 metre splits were hand timed during Boyle’s 1500 metre swim. The table below shows each of Lauren Boyle’s 25 metre times and shows clearly the effect the Wellington pool had on her performance; an effect that is in violation of FINA rules. On average Boyle took 0.57 of a second longer to swim into the current than with the current; an average variation of 3.6% per length. Boyle’s swim confirms the findings from the National Championship study and confirms the presence of a strong, appreciable current.

LAUREN BOYLE 25 METRE SPLITS WORLD BEST 1500 TIME 9 AUGUST 2014

Cumulative Splits

Lap Times

With Current

Into Current

13.56

28.36

13.56

14.80

42.36

-

14.00

0

-

1.28.87

0

0

1.43.09

1.59.31

14.22

16.22

2.14.21

2.30.01

14.90

15.80

2.45.02

3.00.35

15.01

15.33

3.15.47

3.31.06

15.12

15.59

3.46.18

4.01.56

15.12

15.38

4.16.89

4.32.22

15.33

15.33

4.47.33

5.03.06

15.11

15.73

5.18.15

5.33.85

15.09

15.70

5.48.94

6.04.30

15.09

15.36

6.19.42

6.35.22

15.12

15.82

6.50.72

7.06.02

15.50

15.30

7.21.25

7.36.66

15.23

15.41

7.51.77

8.07.95

15.11

16.18

8.23.32

8.38.99

15.37

15.67

8.54.16

9.09.94

15.17

15.78

9.25.19

9.41.01

15.25

15.82

9.56.37

10.12.12

15.36

15.75

10.27.45

10.43.14

15.33

15.69

10.58.70

11.14.61

15.56

15.91

11.30.06

11.45.88

15.45

15.82

12.01.43

12.17.14

15.55

15.71

12.32.25

12.47.98

15.11

15.64

13.03.50

13.19.10

15.52

15.60

13.34.55

13.50.06

15.45

15.51

14.05.17

14.20.89

15.11

15.72

14.36.04

14.51.96

15.15

15.92

15.06.58

15.22.50

14.62

15.92

Average Each

25 metres

15.09

15.66

Difference Per

25 metres

0.57

We also checked the validity of our hand timing by comparing each 50 metre time with the official 50 metre splits provided by the electronic timing equipment. The hand timing splits were within 0.13 seconds of the electronic times. The hand timing is accurate.

And finally associated with the hand timing a record was kept of the swimmer’s stroke count throughout the 1500 metres swim. Swimming with the current the swimmer recorded a consistent 17 strokes per length. Swimming against the current this increased to 18 strokes per length. The water in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre is not still.

WORLD RECORD APPLICATION FORM

DEMANDE D’HOMOLOGATION DE RECORD DU MONDE

18. In my opinion all FINA Rules have been met / A mon avis, toutes les règles de la FINA ont été respectées.

In our view the officials who have submitted the world record application form to FINA have acted improperly answering this question. In addition to the rule violations noted above the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre is also in violation of FINA facility rule “FR 2.7 Starting Platforms”. In part this rule says, “The water depth from a distance of 1.0 metre to 6.0 metre from the end wall must be 1.35 metres where starting platforms are installed.” The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre has a depth of only 1.2 metres from the wall where starting platforms are installed. This is a clear violation of FINA rules and should have prevented Meehan and Renford signing the Record Application.

FINA has previously been asked about the issue of the depth of the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. On that occasion FINA advised Swimming New Zealand that continued use of the shallow end of the pool could invalidate any competition. Swimming New Zealand chose to ignore the advice of FINA and continued to hold competitions in a non-complying pool. And now in spite of the FINA two year old warning of serious consequences, Swimming New Zealand is asking FINA to ignore their own instruction and award a world record.

And finally, former SNZ National Coaching Director, Clive Rushton, has provided us with this historical perspective. “On 22 June 2003 a Policy document was approved by the then SNZ Council “To provide clear guidelines for the allocation and safe management of SNZ national competitions.

It opened with the following, categorical statement:

“All SNZ national competition facilities shall adhere to the FINA minimum facility standards and SNZ minimum facility standards.”

And then followed up with:

“SNZ may waive certain standards for pools if they do not materially interfere with the running of the competitions; compromise the health and safety of competitors, officials or spectators; or expose SNZ to undue legal or financial risk. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis by SNZ Council.”

There then followed a list of suitable pools in which the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was clearly labeled – “Pool does not meet FINA Minimum standard but is approved by SNZ for designated competitions.”

The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was ruled by Swimming New Zealand as a FINA non-compliant pool back in 2003 and it has not changed since then. On the grounds of Swimming New Zealand’s own admission the request for the ratification of the Boyle 1500 metre swim as a world record should be declined.

CONCLUSION 

We submit that the following shortcomings in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre mean Swimming New Zealand should never have signed a world record application form, should never have submitted a world record application form to FINA and FINA should not approve the application as a world record.

  1. The pool was reportedly not measured in accordance in accordance with FINA rule SW 2.5.2.
  2. The pool has a significant and well recorded current that affected this 1500 metre swim and is in violation of FINA rules FR 1.3 and FR2.11.
  3. The depth of the pool, where starting blocks are installed, of 1.2 meters, is below the FINA minimum depth requirement of 1.35 meters and is in violation of FINA rule FR 2.7.

 

David Wright, ASCA Level 5

New Zealand Swim Coach

Some People Say It Better Than I Can

August 14th, 2014

By David

Swimwatch has just received the following comment. I have no idea who it was from. It was posted using a nom de plume. And so Swimming New Zealand if you want to know who him or her is there’s no point in caling me. I have no idea. However the comment does say many of the things I’d like to say but have never had the skills to put them in writing. Here goes. (Note the following words aren’t mine; the comment can be found on this post.)

“Good grief Emily – where have you been?  Or are you an apologist for SNZ? Nobody that I have read either here or in the various international media that are following this is suggesting that these times are somehow an official record.  What they do tell us though is this:

A bloody good coach who knew he was seeing something special unfold took a real time record which when you check back showed one of two things.  Either,

1.  The world’s best swimmer over this distance was consistently swimming the outbound lap (about) half a second quicker than the inbound lap.

2.  This either means that she is not just the world’s best swimmer over the distance and that she was implementing the strangest race plan you could ever imagine, or there might just be something wrong with the pool!  Maybe a current?  No, that wouldn’t be possible in New Zealand would it?

Just as well he did because it seems as though nobody in Swimming Wellington could be bothered to do it!  If he was wrong where are the IOT split records from the turn end to prove that he was wrong?  Maybe Swimming Wellington doesn’t do that anymore or maybe they just might show what Jon Winter has already demonstrated.  Thank you Jon, the world of sport owes you a great debt.

Coaches the world over want to break a world record swim down to find out what makes the best swimmers in the world tick.  These splits will be pored over by coaches all over the world, and you know what?  There is only one inescapable conclusion and that is the same as has been said about this pool for years.  There is a current.

It was obvious to Clive Rushton and has been shown by him with a simple piece of scrunched up paper floating down the pool, and by endless and detailed splits and race results provided by the same excellent performance director over the years. Then there is the evidence of all levels of swimmers who talk of swimming uphill as they come back home in this pool.  And I well remember that awful strident Aussie accent of Jan Cameron’s many years ago screaming from the top balcony ‘turn the bubbles off!’

It seems as though the only people struggling with this right now are those who have the most to lose.  That is the very people who have for years figured that ‘denial is not just a river in Egypt!’ but a very sad place where they can go and suck their thumbs staring into space in a corner while the rest of the world looks on and realises that New Zealand is just the Wild West!

Wake up New Zealand. The world is watching and we don’t look very good.  Our Australian CEO has just made us look like a pack of dishonest country bumpkins.

The pool is dangerous because it is too shallow.  It does not comply with the rules and should not be used for competition from the shallow end.  The pool also has a current.  The only people in the world who can’t figure that out is Swimming New Zealand and their side kicks in Swimming Wellington.

Just when we should be celebrating our greatest swimmer since Danyon Loader in his golden era, we find ourselves caught up in a debate that comes because the custodians of the sport in New Zealand simply are not prepared to man up and admit that they have got it wrong and that they have played fast and loose with our children’s safety and well-being. There is nobody to blame for this other than Swimming New Zealand and those who for years have supported their inept behaviour.  For that you can read Sport New Zealand plus the one eyed apologists who continue to cover for the type of dishonesty and nonsense we see from CEO in a TV interview and various press reports.  At least you can’t accuse David Wright of standing idly by while this all happened.

Let me concede – the CEO may have been misquoted.  He may not have actually meant to say that the only thing that is wrong is David Wright (oh sorry, he did not mention him by name did he?) He may not have actually implied that David Wright has put in an official protest about Lauren’s world record swim (let’s be clear – he, that’s David, has not – he placed a protest about the pools lack of compliance two years ago and before this swim occurred he placed another about the pools current – nothing to do with Lauren’s outstanding world record swim), he (the CEO this time) may not have actually ignored the issue of the fact that the pool is 15 cms shallower (that’s 11%) than FINA allows as its minimum depth for a pool for the six meters under the starting blocks. He may not have said that, despite the evidence to the contrary, Swimming New Zealand is going to press ahead with a dishonest application to its governing body – that may all be the dreadful press in New Zealand misrepresenting him. Of course that can happen but he is not exactly racing out there to correct the impression is he?

Get over yourselves New Zealand.   Lauren Boyle is the real deal and she has been let down by the leaders of her sport and also of all sport in New Zealand and also by the Wellington Council. The longer you apologise for them and excuse their shameful behaviour the closer you come to one of your children becoming a tetraplegic and spending the rest of his or her life in a wheel chair or worse.  It won’t be my children though because they will never dive off those starting blocks ever again and I do not care what competition it might be that is running in the WRAC. My children’s health and well-being have been placed at risk by Swimming New Zealand one time too many.  I refuse to ever be an apologist for this wilful negligence again.

I say never again!”

Again, the link to this comment is at the top of the article.