I’m Buggered If I Know

I imagine Swimming New Zealand knows what it’s doing. I hope Swimming New Zealand knows what it’s doing. It is just that, from the outside, it looks like the expression “Couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery” was invented for them. Unbelievably Steve Johns is paid about $150,000 a year and delivers a shambles.

The “piss-up” in this instance is the activity Swimming New Zealand jokingly refers to as High Performance. Remember this is the organization that could only qualify two swimmers for individual events at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Only one of the qualifiers trains in the Swimming New Zealand program. The other found refuge and good coaching 8000 miles away in Florida.

I can’t help but remember when Gary Hurring and I were responsible for the BGI Club in Wellington. Our club qualified two swimmers for the Auckland Commonwealth Games; Michelle Burke and Toni Jeffs. Now that number is all that the whole country can manage.

And so individually New Zealand currently has two senior international swimmers. Ten other swimmers are going to the Gold Coast to swim in relays. Now here is the part I don’t understand. Looking after the twelve swimmers, only one of whom they actually coach, Swimming New Zealand will shortly have an office staff of five; Steve Johns the CEO, Gary Francis the Targeted Athlete and Coach Manager, Amanda White the High Performance Logistics and Operations Manager, Mathew Woofe the High Performance Coach Intern and a new person, whose job has been advertised today, called the High Performance Logistics and Operations Coordinator.

I thought Swimming New Zealand was getting out of High Performance swimming. They tried it for fifteen years and failed. It seems that “getting out” has a novel meaning in Swimming New Zealand. Five employees to do what? To do administration for twelve swimmers! The same ratio of administrators to swimmers would require USA Swimming to employ a High Performance office staff of 23. USA Swimming actually employ little more than half that number; 13.

But there is something else that’s odd. The advertisement for the new High Performance Operations and Logistics Coordinator says that the position will report to the High Performance Manager. But, if you search the Swimming New Zealand staff profiles, there is no position called a High Performance Manager. The position does not exist. My guess is Swimming New Zealand probably mean Amanda White, the High Performance Logistics and Operations Manager. So either the job advertisement is wrong or the Swimming New Zealand website is in serious need of updating. Steve Johns get $150,000 a year to advertise a fictional reporting line. Brilliant.

Because right now, anyone interested in the position, who looks up the website to find out what their new boss looks like, will find their new boss does not exist. At that point, if it was me, I’d start looking for a job somewhere else.

But that is not the only turn-off in the Swimming New Zealand advertisement. The whole of New Zealand knows the management of swimming in the past six years has been appalling. With this in mind, exaggerated claims of inspirational swimmers, exciting the nation, exceptional results and promoting growth, make the sport look ridiculous. Padding your resume is never a good idea. A little humility would not be amiss. Besides which anyone who does not already realize the fraud of those claims will know, for sure, within five minutes of being employed.

I see the applicant is required to have a high level of computer literacy and an exceptional grasp of the English language. That will make him or her unique at 14 Antares Place. Even the last six sentences of the “Selection Criteria” in the advertisement have six typo errors – and that is not exceptional.

But I guess the thing that annoys me most is that Swimming New Zealand can employ someone who is effectively just a high performance secretary, doing the bidding of Johns and White and at the same time sack coal-face workers like Donna Bouzaid and Gary Hurring. It seems like there is plenty of money to keep 14 Antares Place in the manner to which it has become accustomed. But to hell with anything that costs money out on the pool deck. Johns and White should do some hard graft instead of employing additional staff.

And so if by some chance you are a Swimwatch reader and are looking for a new job. If you are interested in applying for this position my recommendation is that you continue your search somewhere else. Don’t touch this position with a ten foot barge pole.

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