Some People Say It Better Than I Can

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.

  • James T

    I had no idea that David was going to do this and I am a bit embarrassed.
    Firstly David, my name is James and you are right to assume I would rather not be identified, so the ‘T’ is as far as I will go. We are just a normal kiwi family who have been a round for awhile. We love the sport. I still have one of the teenagers who swims, so that’s why I have not gone under my full name. I am sure you will understand. What is clear is that the last of my children will never dive off those starting blocks in the WRAC ever again. We also have shallow pools in our region as well and they don’t dive off those now either.

    When I wrote this yesterday I was a bit wound up. Here I am again on a cold, dark, wet and windy night wondering exactly what I have done to now have a published page on the ‘infamous Swimwatch’. So be it, I stand by how I feel.

    I do have an apology to make though. Realising this has now gone worldwide I need to apologise to our para-swimmers, Sophie Pascoe and others. They have done a great job since Danyon’s days but of course they do not fall under SNZ and FINA – sorry guys, in your own space you guys are great too. The oversight was unintentional. Happens when you get wound up!