Swimming New Zealand & Trump Have This In Common

 I am amazed at how tolerant many Americans are of Donald Trump’s bad behavior. The people in, what they call his base, seem happy to put up with any abuse and any obscenity. Trump said he could shoot someone in the street and it would not affect his popularity. He was probably right. He may not have shot anyone but consider what he has done. In two years he has lied to the American people over 4000 times. Four months after his son was born he slept with a porn star and a Playboy bunny and paid for their sex with hundreds of thousands of dollars. He has defrauded the American people with fake Universities, fake premium steaks and second rate wine. He has boasted about sexual assault and he has cosied up to Putin.

And his base thinks that’s all great. As long as he continues his campaign to stop American women’s right to choose, then Trump is fine by them. I know several American families who wouldn’t tolerate Trump’s behavior in anyone else but happily defend the conduct when it’s Trump. One girl who trained with me was extremely religious. She even owned a plastic Bible that she read during long kick sets. Trump and she would be as far apart as you can get. Yet she voted for him to be President. How does that work? There seems to be no logical reason. But it is real enough. For those Americans any obscenity is allowed as long as the culprit is called Donald Trump.

Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) live the same charmed life. They waste millions, they are world experts in losing, they lie to the membership, they disregard the organisation’s constitution and they violate the law of the land and yet, for a large portion of the membership, that’s just fine. To SNZ’s base the evidence doesn’t seem to matter. Cotterill and Johns are doing a sterling job.

Trump said recently all power is based on fear. In the case of SNZ I think that’s right. SNZ hold onto power because those who should call them to account are too scared. Scared that SNZ might not select their child in the next national team, scared that they will miss out on the next training camp or be overlooked for a lifetime service award. The fear is groundless. SNZ need members much more that the members need SNZ. It may be groundless but, for all that, it is no less real.

I will give you an example. I got an email last week in response to the Swimwatch story about the fake new direction being taken by SNZ. The email sought to defend SNZ. The author must know SNZ lie and cheat and yet every time they come up with a new coach, or a new plan the email’s author grasps the idea that this time it will be different. No it won’t.

Here is the email.

1.    Centralised program has gone.

2.    Now supporting targeted athletes and coaches in their home programmes.

3.    Only swimmers needing to train in Ak from outside Ak for Uni or work are at Mish.

4.    New squads announced (some issues there) and series of camps planned.

5.    Open water still coming together slowly but what’s new.

6.    By the way they pay to be there unless in top squad

Let’s look at each of these points.

Centralised program has gone.

I have no idea why anyone would buy that fiction. Perhaps because SNZ told them that the centralised program had gone. But SNZ lie. They do not tell the truth. It has not gone at all. Every day I am at the SNZ pool and the centralised program is alive and well. And the email author knows that’s true. Point six says, “By the way they pay to be there unless in top squad”. Those two things don’t make sense. The centralised program has gone but top swimmers are swimming there without paying. What’s that if it’s not still the centralised program? The email answers its own question.

Now supporting targeted athletes and coaches in their home programmes.     

We will see how that works. Remember SNZ had no option but to promote the fiction that they were going to support swimmers in their home programs. It was their last chance at holding onto power. The centralised program had clearly failed. No matter what SNZ decided swimmers were sensibly staying with their clubs or accepting opportunities in Australia or the USA. SNZ had become irrelevant. And so in order to hold onto power what better way than to muscle in on a swimmer’s home program and sell it as a benefit. And that is what Francis has done. Sadly there are many who are taken in by the con.

Only swimmers needing to train in Ak from outside Ak for Uni or work are at Mish.

I have no idea what that thought is attempting to justify. Because a swimmer comes from outside Auckland does not mean they can’t swim at the North Shore Club or United or Waterhole. Where the swimmer comes from and their reason for shifting to Auckland is irrelevant. SNZ should not be competing against private operators in the provision of coaching. Incidentally local swimmers don’t train with the SNZ centralised program because they sensibly don’t want to, not because SNZ wouldn’t take them.

New squads announced (some issues there) and series of camps planned.

If anything proved that nothing has changed this point does. Several Swimwatch posts have discussed why the selection of squads by SNZ is a recipe for disaster. Whether a squad is selected to swim in Auckland permanently or in a weekend training camp the issues around having designated elites remain a real danger. A second email last week also told me about the wonderful new camps planned by SNZ. That too is a con. SNZ’s power demands that they are seen to be doing something. What better way than to put on a camp and call it something new. But it is not new. SNZ have been putting on camps for thirty years and swimming has got worse and worse. My argument has only ever been that nothing has changed. The “new policy” is not new. If anything proves that nothing has changed, the mention of selected squads and camps must come close. Both of those are old and discredited.

Open water still coming together slowly but what’s new. 

I know very little about open water but I’ve yet to see anything new or relevant happen in that area. Open water will likely remain as neglected as it has always been. Certainly nothing I have seen alters my view that the great Francis folly has changed nothing.

By the way they pay to be there unless in top squad 

I have mentioned previously that the fact swimmers in the top squad do not have to pay proves my point. Nothing has changed. Besides which paying, or not paying, is irrelevant. The point is nothing has changed. Training fees should not be paid to SNZ. They should be paid to North Shore or Coast or United or Waterhole. But it has forever been that way.

It is nice that there are good people who are loyal to the national federation. It is sad when their loyalty and old fashioned values are taken advantage of. Both Trump and the occupants of the Antares Place office are masters of exploiting trust – beware.

0 responses. Leave a Reply

  1. Swimwatch


    Be the first to leave a comment!

Comments are closed.