Archive for July, 2021


Sunday, July 18th, 2021

Many years ago, Swimwatch was published every week. Loyal patrons of the sport took Swimwatch to bed to ease them gently to sleep or keep them awake until the early hours fuming over the author’s arrogant madness. Truly these were the blog’s halcyon days. But alas it had to end.

I got into a dispute with Swimming New Zealand. A dispute that is still being decided by the Human Rights Review Tribunal. As part of that hearing and until the issue is resolved, I undertook to never write about certain topics. To make sure that promise was kept I closed the blog. My silence would guarantee my compliance.

However, there is a swimming related topic I must discuss. I hope Swimming New Zealand and the Human Rights Review Tribunal will not view it as a breach of any confidentiality accord. But Swimming New Zealand has changed. Gone is the centralised training. Gone is the previous administration. The sport’s power base is a club structure that builds from the bottom up. Steve Johns and Gary Francis operate in a world that we have not seen for twenty years. Andy McMillan, Jon Winter, Gary Hollywood, Lars Humer, Alison Fitch and one hundred others can build their swimmers free from the fear of kidnap from the north. I am far from being religious but to quote the Bible, “Then God saw everything, and indeed it was very good. So, the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

You may think this is all a bit over the top. But it is not. The difference is stunning. Swimming in New Zealand has changed for the better. Oh, I know there are some who hope that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will produce results that reflect the improvements made to the sport’s administration. And who knows, they might. However, even if we have to wait another three years to Paris, make no mistake, swimming has begun a journey that will be successful.

Do not judge the recent changes by what happens in Tokyo. It took twenty years to bring the sport to its knees. It will probably take more than five minutes to repair. But also, never doubt the health of the new regime. You can see it. You can feel it. It is night and day. In this brave new world success has a chance to grow. It may take longer than a week in Tokyo but what we have now will work.

So, well done Swimming New Zealand. Well done Steve Johns. Well done Gary Francis. Your changes have saved a sport that was in grave peril. Success now has a chance to grow. Yes, truly we are in the evening of the sixth day and it is very good.