Get Someone Who Can Write English

Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) will be presenting the first of a series of information update sessions in Wellington tonight. The primary purpose of the meeting is to communicate recent changes to the SNZ high performance programme. You would think that an event, aimed at improving communication, would be announced in good English. I have mentioned before Steve Johns’ inability to present the most basic text without including a dozen spelling or grammatical errors. This Facebook announcement is no exception.

The question Bruce Cotterill should have asked at the interview for CEO is, “Can you write in the English language?” If the answer was yes, SNZ could have a case of Resume padding on their hands. Complaining about something like this may seem petty. Indeed there is merit in the view that Steve Johns’ struggle with the English language is of no consequence. The problem is when the errors get in the way of the message; the thought that if all this stuff is wrong what else has the author missed; what else doesn’t he know.

Here is the SNZ announcement.

“Swimming New Zealand will be presenting the following in Wellington:

Swimming NZ will be presenting a series of information update sessions throughout the country focusing on the recently refreshed High Performance Strategy. High Performance Manager Amanda White, Targeted Athlete & Coach Manager Gary Francis and myself (Steve Johns) will be presenting these session in an effort to keep you all informed and up to date with what is a very important part of our business. The presentations will look at and explain the following:

1. Recent changes to the Swimming NZ High Performance Strategy;

2. The new Targeted Athlete & Coach Programme;

3. National team selection criteria explained;

4. General SNZ strategic update and priorities.

There will be ample time for Q+A so we encourage all interested parties to come along and join this interactive session.”

In 136 words Johns has made the following errors:

  1. In the first line SNZ is spelt Swimming New Zealand. In the second line it is Swimming NZ and the third time the organization is mentioned it has become SNZ. Changing the title of the organization he works for is confusing and poor communication.
  2. The word “myself” should be “me”. “Myself” is pretentious and grammatically incorrect.
  3. The word “session” should be the plural “sessions”.
  4. Johns has an annoying habit of repeating points for the sole purpose of sounding important. For example “informed and up to date” mean the same thing. So do “strategic update and priorities”. Strategic updates is included simply because using the word “strategic” is Johns’ idea of proper management talk. His boss, Bruce Cotterill, has the same bad habit.

We can only hope that the meeting in Wellington tonight communicates the purpose and direction of the Targeted Athlete & Coach High Performance Programme with more clarity than the Facebook announcement.

I would love to hear SNZ explain how a dozen unqualified swimmers ended up swimming in individual events at the Commonwealth Games. How do Johns and Francis justify what looked like blatant cheating? What is SNZ’s explanation for the lies it told about Boyle’s altitude camp sickness problems? Why was Lyles made redundant after the Glasgow Games and then brought back to coach a second Commonwealth Games poor performance? Why has it taken since January 2018 and $50,000 in wages to arrange the first meeting explaining Gary Francis’ position to New Zealand? Is this pace of change a permanent feature of life at Antares Place?

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