Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

By David

I used to think this oath was too long and unnecessarily repetitive. A promise to tell the truth presumably included the whole truth and nothing but the truth. By saying, “the truth” weren’t the phrases, “the whole truth” and “nothing but the truth” made redundant? Then I came back to New Zealand and saw the works of Jan Cameron, Mike Byrne, Ross Butler and their leader Murray Coulter. Suddenly it became clear. The oath that has been a staple of English law since the 13th century was repetitive for a reason. Faced with devious buggers capable of manipulating and twisting the truth it is important to refer to the truth in all its aspects. “The truth” simply refers to the correct information. “The whole truth” is different because the addition of “whole” means nothing should be left out. And finally, “nothing but the truth” prevents the truth being embellished by opinion or spin.

It is just as well the Coulter gang has never been asked to swear an oath of honesty. Their reporting of Swimming New Zealand’s position is neither correct nor whole. And certainly it is always embellished with their opinion and their spin. Consider their reporting of the recent World Championships in Shanghai.

It means that this New Zealand team has become the most successful in terms of number of finals and semifinals. They have now qualified in four finals and six semifinals which bettered the previous best in 2007, although Danyon Loader’s lone haul of three medals in 1994 is the best in podiums.

It actually upsets me to report on this widely published paragraph. First of all it’s not true. At the Montreal 2005 World Championships New Zealand had a far higher number of final and semifinal swims – it’s hard to find the data but I think that team swam in thirteen semi finals and eight finals compared to four and eight so far in Shanghai.

However the worst aspect of comparing final and semifinal results is the meaningless ignominy of it all. The people of New Zealand have paid that Cameron woman sixteen million dollars over ten years to get us a result in a swimming pool. In that time she has appointed her son and imported a number of foreign coaches, one of whom is still here, to help her win a world championship swimming race. And none of them have delivered. They have all failed. Better than that – they even have the country talking about getting into a semifinal as though it was a gold medal occasion – a victory for Swimming New Zealand’s high performance program – a dazzling return on our combined investment. Jan Cameron and her imported foreign coaches have successfully lowered the swimming expectations of our proud little country.

Let there be no misunderstanding, in certain circumstances a semifinal or a final swim can be an important individual achievement; certainly something worthy of celebration. However as the culmination of a ten year program and a sixteen million dollar investment it is a scandal. To be using words like “most successful” and “outstanding” in this context stains the history of New Zealand swimming.

What is Cameron’s next claim to fame going to be? We had more personal bests than the Americans. We set more national records than the one swimmer representing the US Virgin Islands. Or perhaps she will claim that only the New Zealand team managed to set a new Auckland Regional relay record. Certainly we will be told that New Zealand’s “One Team” is on track to score big in the London Olympic Pool. We just need a little more work on some starts and turns and all will be well. The number of times Jan Cameron has banged on about the starts and turns of the New Zealand team, our swimmers should be the best in the world at that by now.

In another report Swimming New Zealand told us that “Lauren Boyle will drag her tired body back to the pool for one more big effort to cap off an outstanding 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai”. The reality is that Lauren Boyle deserves better. So far she has placed sixth in the 400, twelfth in the 200 and eigth in the 800. That is good, that is progress but it is not outstanding. And Lauren Boyle does not deserve to be lied to by the organization she represents. That sort of misinformation has gone on for too long. Cameron and her Swimming New Zealand mates have lavished similar unearned acclaim on Daniel Bell. The error of that was finally exposed in Shanghai. Tell your swimmers the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They can take it and will respond far better than to a truck load of meaningless Australian spin. We can only hope Regan is not participating in the same deception.

Does anyone think for a minute that Michael Phelps’ coach would be reporting sixth, twelfth and eigth as an outstanding result? There is not one person on the American team, or the French, or the German teams that would call that result “outstanding”. Only Jan Cameron tells her sport and her financiers that losing is a victory. Faced with the same result the Americans would be looking seriously at what had gone wrong. Why had they failed to win their event? The problem with calling sixth, twelfth and eigth “outstanding” is that it reduces the edge to do better. If sixth is as good as it gets why push for more?

In a comment on last week’s Swimwatch article I recounted the following story about Arthur Lydiard.

When I was coaching Toni Jeffs we went to what was then the World Short Course Championships. Toni won a Bronze medal in the 50 freestyle. Toni thought she should have done better but I was pretty happy with the result. When we got back to Auckland I went around to Arthur Lydiard’s home to report on Toni’s success. He patted me on the shoulder and gently said, “A Bronze is not really good enough, David. Toni is right; we go to World Championships to win them.”

But then Arthur Lydiard and Arch Jelley and Duncan Laing are men who tell or told their sport the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; a scarce quality in New Zealand swimming these days.

  • Chris


    It seems that Swimwatchers are not the only ones picking up this thread. This morning’s Herald (if you are down country you need to bookmark the Herald because there is a reporter up there that has been needling SNZ since Delhi Games!)

    Absolutely brilliant:

    I wonder whether he reads Swimwatch? Excellent.

  • Northern Swimmer

    Hi David,
    Long-time listener, First-time caller.

    You would have thought somewhere within SNZ someone would keep a track of our results at a World Championships. I’m sure Norma Williams does. I’m sure Mr Rushton did. I can’t believe that they aren’t easily accessible to the greater public via the SNZ website.

    Fortunately does, and even better you can search them via team or nation.

    Dean Kent 200m Im 8th
    Zoe Baker 50 Breast 5th
    Liz Coster 50 Butterfly 8th
    Hannah Maclean 50 Back 7th
    Hannah Maclean 100 Back 5th
    Mens 4 x 100 Medley DSQ
    Womens 4 x 100 Free 8th
    Womens 4 x 200 Free 8th

    Moss 100 & 200 Fly
    Dean 200 IM
    Scott TC 50 Back
    Zoe 50 Breast
    Liz 50 & 100 Back
    Aly 100 Free
    Hannah 50, 100, 200 Back
    Helen 200 IM
    (With Dean and Helen both recording Top 16 finishes in the 400 IM also)

    Making a total of 8 Finals, and 12 Semi-Finals for New Zealand in Montreal.

    In the spirit of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I attended a presentation that Jan Cameron gave following the 2005 Worlds, and at the start of the 2006 campaign. She shared these finals results with the room. With a couple of changes:
    The Men’s relay team were recorded as finalists, but not that they had been DQ’ed (technically the truth, they subsequently won the North Harbour Sport’s team of the year award for this result)
    Zoe’s result was not included in the powerpoint. (Leaving out our best result, a rather glaring omission).
    To this day I am unsure whether this was because she was based elsewhere than MISH, she had formerly swum for, and been a World Record holder for Great Britain, or because of Jan’s refusal to acknowledge non-Olympic events.

    I think this raises a valid question – should we acknowledge non-Olympic events in the same or a lesser way than Olympic events?
    If you win the 50m Back/Breast/Fly or a reverse distance event, or a 5 or 25 km Open Water event you will still be crowned a World Champion. You will get a medal that is the same as those who win a 200m Backstroke or 100m Freestyle. So why do we allow a distinction to be made?
    Arguably I can understand the difference with regard to funding if we are chasing Olympic medals, (or finals, probably to be reduced to semi-finals, the way the goalposts keep changing at the moment), however with World Championship qualification standards we set the bar unreasonably high – a top 6 in the World standard. As a result you have the likes of Dylan in the 800m Free, Cara in the 1500m, and Kane in the 5km recording internationally competitive results but having to be selected in underhand ways (Dylan), after extremely confrontational disputes (Kane) or not at all (Cara in the 1500 her 16:25 was comfortably inside the FINA A 16:41).
    I wonder whether this has anything to do with the higher FINA points which would be scored in these events, and how that may impact on the selection of coaches for teams, but that may be me being cynical…

    The final point I would like to raise is in regard to the statement:
    “although Danyon Loader’s lone haul of three medals in 1994 is the best in podiums”

    Firstly, although I was never a Classics scholar I am sure that the plural of Podium is Podia, as it is with Stadium – Stadia.
    Secondly, the statement devalues the performance of anyone who wins a medal of any shade other than bronze. It treats every medal winning performance as equal. They are not. What the statement should say is “Danyon’s haul of a silver and two bronze medals in 1994 is our best result ever”. Leave the qualification out of it. We are not interested in quantity, we are interested in quality.
    Thirdly, I wonder whether the motivation behind referring to ‘podiums’ is not to re-cast history. Jan was never an Olympic Champion. She was however an Olympic Podium swimmer.

  • David

    Northern Swimmer – Thank you for the list of finalists. Your other comments are deeply interesting. I agree 100%.

  • Sharon

    Zoe Baker? Easy. Jan hated Zoe Baker, therefore she didn’t exist, so no mention on a Powerpoint presentation there then.

  • David

    Sharon – I agree. Isn’t it disgusting when Cameron attempts to rewrite history. She doesn’t like Zoe Baker, so Zoe Baker’s performance never happened. It really has nothing to do with sport as it should be managed. If that is representative of her character she should never be left anywhere near participants in any sport. When my daughter swam for New Zealand I am so pleased she kept well away from this aweful Australian. Some influences young New Zealanders can do without.

  • @ Dad – one imagines that according to some versions of history, I probably never existed either ;) Quite a few of us might end up unpersons if some people’s versions of events were written into history!

  • Rhi Jeffrey

    Glad I swim for the States. I’d definitely be an unperson :)

  • Sharon

    Absolutely. What about recently when someone mentioned about Kane Radford being an “unperson” TWICE by not getting a named swimcap at team meetings (or something like that).

    There are a few that I would quite like to become “unpersons”. Hahahaha.

  • David

    Yep – I’m certain Sharon, Rhi, Zoe and Jane would all be on Cameron’s starting unperson team. I suspect she may make me the unperson coach of the unperson team as well. Mind you it’s shaping up as a pretty good team.

  • Northern Swimmer

    Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

    This morning’s NZ Herald features the same claim that:

    “Boyle helped the New Zealand team to their best performance in a world championships in terms of finals and semifinals contested.

    They qualified for four finals and six semifinals, bettering the previous best achieved in 2007. In medal terms the three won by Danyon Loader in 1994 stand among the six world championships medals won by New Zealand swimmers.”

    It suddenly occurred to me that 3 medals in 1994 must have involved at least 3 finals.

    A quick check reveals that we had 6 finalists in 1994:

    Trent Bray 200m Freestyle 5th
    Danyon Loader 200m Free 3rd
    Danyon Loader 400m Free 3rd
    Danyon Loader 200m Fly 2nd
    Anna Simsic 200m Back 5th
    Mens 4 x 200m Free Relay 7th

    with 4 B finals

    Phillipa Langrell 400m Free 15th
    Anna Simsic 100m Back 12th
    Anna Wilson 200m IM 11th
    Anna Wilson 400m IM 10th

    If a Semi-finals and Finals format had been used there would have been 6 semi-finals contested.

    The way they are re-writing history makes me think Pelorus House should be renamed The Ministry of Truth

  • Chris

    So … was I the only one a bit p***** off that they didn’t screen the last day of the Worlds on TV last night?

    So having picked up the feed from British Sky for each finals session during the whole World Champs (which was great, I must add), NZ SkyTV decided in their infinite wisdom not to screen the last night.

    Several questions here. Was their decision not to screen the last night of Worlds because:

    1. There were no Kiwis involved? If so, then why did they screen Day 4 finals when we didn’t have Kiwis in the session?

    2. Because the swimming community and the Sky subscribers are only interested in Kiwi swimmers? An extremely arrogant and ignorant view. The swimming community will watch anything aquatic and particularly the top international event of the year. To watch the stars, old, new and emerging, is a thrill. Whether we are old timers in the sport all our lives, or just parents of young swimmers just starting out, it is spectacle we don’t want to miss.

    3. Because the general public don’t want to watch swimming? Mmm, so the general public don’t want to watch Michael Phelps then? Or Ryan Lochte, the new star, finally out of the shadow of Phelps (and lets face it, much better to look at!). Or extremely toned, fit athletes at the peak of their physicality (let’s be honest, the mens textile half-suits and bare chests has added to the eye-candy). My understanding of a typical Sky Sports subscriber is someone who will stay-up-late watching ANYTHING that is exciting, competitive, and highly skilled (myself included) REGARDLESS of whether they might know the intricacies of sport and its rules.

    Or is it more to do with the fact that Kevin Cameron has decided he is going to punish the NZ swimming community because the tables have been turned on his wife? Mmm – my money is on the latter!

  • Lee

    Northern swimmer – I hope someone is writing to the Herald to put their facts straight?

  • Mustapha Mond

    Northern Swimmer – you are bang on – the Herald on Sunday through their excellent sports reporter Andrew Alderson have been exposing Swimming NZ’s detached relationship with the truth for months now, the latest of course being yesterday:

    He (Andrew Alderson) has not being buying the line offered by SNZ in their press releases to the NZPA and he deserves a really big thank you for his efforts to ensure greater transparency from the ‘Ministry of Truth’.

    His email is:

    But the Herald on Sunday is a different department to the main Herald. The Sports Editor for the Herald, who are the ones that need to be more careful about what they publish is:

    Email him and tell him of your concerns. The on-line editor is:

    But don’t leave out ‘’ either because they also just pick up the SNZ/NZPA releases. Their editor is:

    We know Swimming NZ are not listening and are not about to do anything that resembles acting with integrity, but I have heard from moles in ‘The Ministry’ that they all read Swimwatch down there and that Byrne reads it every morning first thing when he comes in. Apparently, if he (aka Koru!!) is mentioned in despatches he is in the most foul mood with everybody in the office for the rest of the day!

    Keep up the good work David. Someone else told me that they get fed so much ‘mushroom food’ (kept in the dark and fed b*** s***) down there that all the staff read Swimwatch so that they know what is going on and what the truth really is!

    I am guessing that it wont be long before it becomes a ‘firing offense’ to log onto Swimwatch – the upside of that is that Koru himself will need to go first!

  • Sharon

    Mike ‘Koru’ Byrne. That is so funny!

  • Lee

    You want to talk to some of the staff at Bike NZ, they will confirm all you have been saying about Byrne. Even the cyclists tried to avoid him!

    I think an email campaign to the email addresses above could be rewarding.

  • David

    When you add Northern Swimmer’s 1994 finalist’s data to the Montreal stats, the SNZ lie is beyond belief. The extent of their corruption is stunning. Given their doctrine of collective responsibility do you think all this qualifies Coulter, Cameron, Byrne and Butler as genuine liers – couldn’t lie straight in bed.

    Now they know they’ve been caught out you’d think they would appologize or send out a retraction – but then I guess not. That would take class.

    SPARC – how long are you going to allow these idiots to make you look stupid?

  • My Name is Ringo

    Another small point on accuracy of reporting, I can only think of 5 medals at World LC Champs, Loaders 3 in 94, Mosse 86 and Hurring 78. Anyone know of another?

    I bet Graeme Henry would be thrilled to have Swimming NZ do his press releases if the A.B’s loose in the World Cup semi final this year. ” Despite the loss it is New Zealand’s best ever result at a world cup, beating the Quarter Final result of 2007″ Just ignoring the people old enough to remember 1987.

  • Chris

    Hahaha. Classic!
    You are right. We only have 5 World Champs LC medals.

    But on a point raised above about Bike NZ. I have also heard that Bike NZ was glad to get rid of Byrne and that there is a story to be told here. What I have been told is that the relationship with the recruitment agency was NOT arms-length and was pretty cosy. I would also love to know how we ended up with such an imbecile.