Rules? What Rules?

By David

I was surprised when Swimming New Zealand decided to sign a form saying the Wellington’s Kilbirnie Pool complied with all FINA facility regulations. That simply was not true. But Swimming New Zealand signed Lauren Boyle’s World Record Application anyway. I thought their behaviour was one enormous lie. Why didn’t SNZ simply attach a note to the Record Application saying that although the Wellington pool did not meet the minimum depth requirement, the record should stand as the swimmer had received no advantage? In fact the shallow pool could well have made Boyle’s swim more difficult.

That would have been true. It would have been honest and Boyle would have received a world record unblemished by the spectre of administrative dishonesty.

However simple honesty does not seem to be part of Swimming New Zealand’s genetic DNA. That was highlighted again today when I received notification that Clive Power will coach SNZ’s Millennium Institute team. Clive Power is about to become SNZ’s temporary Head Coach.

Whether Clive Power is fit to coach at that level is a topic that could be debated well into the night. With no disrespect to Clive Power I do not think his qualifications or experience match the likes of Lyles, Regan or Rushton. Power did a great job in the Bay of Plenty. But that was the Bay of Plenty.

What I cannot understand is how he can be appointed temporary National Coach and remain a Board member of Swimming New Zealand. This is what the new Swimming New Zealand Constitution says on that subject.

No one is “eligible to be a Board member” who is “an employee of Swimming New Zealand” or “who holds any other key role in the sport”.

I have no doubt tricky SNZ could get around the “employee” clause. Just don’t pay him or have him work as a self-employed contractor – there are a million ways of skirting that rule. All of them dishonest but technically SNZ, being SNZ, would argue Power was not an employee.

But just how, even Swimming New Zealand, plan to slide around the “who holds any other key role in the sport” rule is beyond me. Perhaps Renford is about to tell us coaching the Millennium Institute swimmers is not a “key role”. Who knows?

Whatever they do it stinks. The Constitution is there to control the behaviour of those in charge, probably more than grass roots members like you and me. When those in power ignore or cheat on the rule of law, chaos will result. It always does. SNZ is a mess and it looks to me like that’s just what they deserve.