Full Mail Bag

By David

My last Swimwatch article described the disruption to my daily routine caused by having two operations on an infected wound on my leg. Writing for Swimwatch has been difficult. Mr. Martin, the surgeon who skillfully removed the offending tissue and replaced it with a skin graft from my thigh, counselled against spending time sitting at a computer; preferring rest with my leg in an elevated position. And that is what I have tried to do.

Things seem to be going well. I saw Mr. Martin again today and he has cleared me for light duties. Interestingly he did point out a deeper section of the wound and said, “That’s your shin bone.” I guess it’s not everybody who has seen their shin from the inside – for me certainly, another first.

Anyway Mr. Martin’s opinion has cleared the way for Swimwatch to resume normal transmission.

A blog such as Swimwatch generates some email correspondence sent directly to the author of the blog. I don’t get a lot these emails; perhaps two or three a week. For example I received three messages this week. I have no idea of the answer to any of them. But let me share with you their content and perhaps there is a reader who can solve my correspondents’ problems. I must add that I have not checked the facts. Instead I will relay their contents simply as they were told to me.

The first email concerned the Junior Pan Pacific Games. I am told this event overlaps the National Short Course Championships by two days. As a result swimmers involved in the Pan Pacific Junior event will miss at least the first two days of the domestic Championship. That has the potential to be very serious for Junior Pan Pacific Games’ swimmers wanting to qualify for the Doha World Short Course Championships. The National Championship is the qualifying meet for Doha.

For example, a swimmer such as Bradley Ashby will be at the Junior Pan Pacific Games and will miss his favored 400 IM event at the Short Course Nationals; an event at which he could reasonably expect to qualify. So, if all that’s true, how is Swimming New Zealand going to accommodate a serious injustice. My guess is they will eventually realize their scheduling stupidity and will change the rules. An organization that can add relay swimmers into Commonwealth Game’s individual events outside the rules is capable of anything.

My second email questioned the $3800 user pays amount being charged to swimmers attending the Junior Olympics. My correspondent tells me Swimming New Zealand have said the amount is to cover travel, uniforms and the like but has not provided a detailed breakdown. I’m told the New Zealand Olympic Committee was contacted. They said travel, uniforms and accommodation for the Junior Olympics were paid for by the Olympic movement.

So just what does the $3800 SNZ invoice cover? Surely the National body is not into double dipping? Certainly the suspicion of making money out of the nation’s best junior swimmers is sufficiently high to demand Swimming New Zealand publish a detailed breakdown of the amount. We won’t get it of course. This, after all, is Antares Place behind closed doors.

Or is it? My third correspondent signed him or her self “Concerned Mainlander” and forwarded me a hilarious email. It was sent out by the CEO of Swimming New Zealand, Christian Renford. In it Renford includes the minutes of the last SNZ Chairman’s conference call with the Chairmen of the New Zealand regions. Renford attached what he said was notes on factors to be taken into account when preparing a modern “Health and Safety” policy. I opened the notes and saw why Renford’s email had been sent to me. Instead of health and safety notes Renford had attached notes prepared by an Australian real estate agent on selling Renford’s Sydney home. It’s all there, the expected price, selling expenses, details of the current tenants and Renford’s autograph.

Now my concern is not the hilarious mistake of adding a personal house sale’s agreement to a SNZ document. We all make those sorts of mistakes. It does however make a mockery of Renford’s email “Excellence” sign-off. Attention to detail may be in need of attention. No my concern is the impression and probability that Renford is conducting personal business on Swimming New Zealand computers. The obvious proximity of his house sale’s agreement with SNZ files suggests Renford may be using SNZ property for his personal use. The impression is sufficiently real that a Regional Chairman should be asking for an explanation.

After all it was only a few years ago that the Chairman of the Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay Region complained to my employer when he received an email from my work computer; an action I was asked to explain. Let’s see whether the current Chairman of the HBPB Region is as diligent in pursuing the CEO of Swimming New Zealand for possibly the same transgression.

Because personal use, if that’s what this is, is certainly a transgression. This is how a prominent US attorney describes the rules.

The use of company automation systems, including computers, is for company business only. Use of company computers and internet access is a privilege granted by management and may be revoked at any time for inappropriate conduct carried out on such systems, including, but not limited to engaging in private or personal business activities. If you violate these policies, you could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

The Board of Swimming New Zealand need to clarify whether a SNZ asset is being used, by the CEO, to conduct personal business. If Renford is using a SNZ asset to sell his Australian property did the Board approve that use and where is the published record of that approval?

So that’s this week’s three emails. As I say, if any reader can throw light on their content, positive or negative we would love to hear from you.

  • Ignorance is disgusting

    OMG, you are in serious need of a reality check David. I see this attitude in a few sporting organisations and really you are just like the parents on the sideline who get in a punching fight because their kid just isn’t really that good…grow up!
    You have no idea of any company’s setup and obviously haven’t even considered that a mistake may have been made because of the long hours put in by a dedicated person on their own personal computer to ensure jobs are completed (I am not saying this is the case here but how do you know?)…how do you know how the mistake was made and how can you just sit there and judge on a blog without speaking to the person who made the mistake first (selfish and disgusting/you have no respect for anybody around you/this is NZ and not the US so where is your loyalty and national spirit to improve the swimming situation instead of the crap you still dish out in fancy 2007 style!!!).
    You obviously have no respect at all for personal lives and issues of any staff member, let alone a SNZ staff member who you will put down at any moment without knowing them at all. You have an opinion which is un-christian (in fact, your attitude is indecent, lets be honest here) like in all aspects and your conspiracy theories are laughable at best. So often you put in **** which harms others and causes them undue stress. Even your attack against Melissa who was an angel in your eyes until she joined the SNZ staffing team to make a difference was stupendous.
    When are you going to get a life and start to be a constructive part of the swimming community instead of wasting everybody’s time with your ranting and unfounded accusations? I would have a heart-attach the day my comments go on your website instead of you ignoring those who disagree with you and still writing your biased **** which is unconstructive. I am sincerely disappointed that you cannot find ways to be a constructive support to all the swimming community in NZ instead of this put down attitude you have. Surely your time could be better spent helping others and offering support and options instead of pi**ing in everybody’s faces if they in some way offend you even if they have nothing to do with you at all.

    • Just saying

      My that is one serious rant by ignorance is disgusting, can only think they protest too much and probably they know too much for their conscience to bare….can I suggest that playing the ball not person would have made this response more palatable. If the organisation and it’s employees adhered to the rules then maybe just maybe swimwatch would cease to exist. While they continue to deliver on a plate error upon error then they are a very visible target. If this blog is so unchristian for you then maybe you shouldn’t bother reading it on a regular basis as it it would seem you do….. Just saying.

  • Jesus of Sports Administration

    “You have an opinion which is un-christian!”

    Note: saying something doesn’t align with your religious beliefs that someone else doesn’t share is unlikely to sway the other person’s opinion on the matter.

    • Just sayin


  • David

    I too enjoyed the “un-Christian” accusation. If the phrase is a reference to the individual who now runs SNZ then Swimwatch is guilty as charged. Of course it’s “un-Christian”. If it is a genuine religious accusation the writer is in serious need of theological help. It smacks of a moral superiority condemned pretty strenuously in the doctrine he calls on for support. FYI Luke 18 9-14.