A Quiet Week

It’s been a quiet week. I spent another four days in Ward Two at North shore Hospital getting my blood sorted. That was interesting because the four days included a transfer from Waitakere Hospital to North Shore at 3.45 in the morning and a one day nurses’ strike; the first nurses’ strike in thirty odd years. The staff did a fantastic job. From this patient’s point of view I didn’t notice a thing. All the tasks that are part of a hospital day seemed to happen normally; drugs, blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and weight were all checked. I was impressed.

But a boring week on the swimming front meant there was nothing to write about on Swimwatch. So I thought I’d do Steve Johns a favour. You may remember he sent me an email recently. In case you missed the Swimwatch post discussing this titanic event, here is the email again.


Once again you have published incorrect information, this time about Bradlee Ashby.  Bradlee is not retiring and remains committed and focused on Tokyo 2020.  You have once again put 1 + 1 together and got 3, clearly in your continued crusade to discredit Swimming NZ and anyone associated with it.   

 I challenge you to take a few etc steps next time you settle down to your latte and come into the Swimming NZ office and confront face-to-face the people you so enjoy writing about.  We will gladly sit down at any time with you and answer any questions that you have and give you the facts about what we are doing.  Sadly however, I suspect that for you its too easy just to put pen to paper, write whatever pops into your head and not be interested in the negative impact that you have on people’s lives.  If you think your little blogs and constant attacks are helping swimming in NZ, then you are seriously mistaken – or is it just a fun little game you like to play?   

I also challenge you to ‘open’ your blog so that individuals can comment on your posts and provide a bit of balance to your crusade.

The office door is always open.



 PS, I look forward to your critiquing this email in your next blog!!

 Steve Johns

Chief Executive Officer

So let’s humour Johns. He says he’s looking forward to a critique, so let’s do just that.

In fact Johns’ request is not without merit. It is important for him to send proper, professional emails that represent Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) in a favourable light. Any help we can provide is willingly and freely given. Anyway here are some rules that may benefit Johns in the future.

RULE ONE – Beginning your email with a greeting is important. If you are emailing someone you have never met before, (like me) and your relationship with the recipient is therefore formal (like mine), introducing yourself and what you do is crucial. You should start the email like this:

Dear Mr. Wright,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is Steve Johns and I am the Chief Executive Officer of Swimming New Zealand.

Can you imagine how much better I would feel about the content of what you have to say next with that introduction instead of, “David, Once again you have published incorrect information,”?

I appreciate that your stunning arrogance possibly makes it difficult for you to be polite. Courtesy however is normally more effective in getting your point across than crass bad manners.

RULE TWO – State your purpose with concise, short and clear sentences. I think it is clear that Johns has done this just fine. It’s a pity therefore that the points he makes, so concisely in short, clear sentences, are so flat out wrong. No one on Swimwatch ever said Bradlee Ashby was retiring. We only asked SNZ to clarify whether he was retiring, because that and his girlfriend problems was the subject of much poolside gossip.

Ironically it is not difficult to discredit SNZ and Johns when their reactions, like this one, are so easily proven wrong and stunningly stupid.

RULE THREE – One of the biggest mistakes made by Johns is not proof reading his emails. He has clearly written this one after getting worked up by someone; my guess is the Ashby family, about something written in Swimwatch. Johns needs to learn that it’s easy to miss something out or make a spelling mistake when you burst into print without proof reading. In this email the following sentence is an example: “etc” is I imagine meant to be “extra”.

“I challenge you to take a few etc steps next time you settle down to your latte and come into the Swimming NZ office.”

RULE FOUR – It is better to tell the truth. Slinging insults around and then inviting the recipient into a meeting is absurd. Why would anyone waste a latte discussing anything with anyone who has taken the time to write insults that include writing “whatever pops into” my head, of being, “not interested in the negative impact that you have on people’s lives” and of writing for a “little” blog. Incidentally, I agree with Johns, Swimwatch is a “little” blog. However, as at tonight, the number of unique readers since the blog was first published is 495,438 – so possibly not quite so little.

And so I guess the conclusion to all this is that I won’t be taking the few extra steps to the SNZ office with my morning latte, not while the CEO indulges in semi-literate and bad mannered invitations like this one. When Johns demonstrates the decency and humility required to write a polite invitation then perhaps there will be grounds for a discussion. Until then, in my view of this email, is he is not a fit person to occupy that office or represent my membership.

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