CRY THE BELOVED SPORT

It has been said many times that the author of the Facebook page Kiwi Swimming is full of BS. What he knows about swimming could be written on the back of a very small postage stamp. A New Zealand Court once described him in these terms:

“Having seen and heard Mr Crampton give evidence and being cross-examined over a range of matters including his harassment of others, the events of 23 April 2013 and the circumstances in which the warning letter was disclosed by him, our assessment is that he is a person who can see only one point of view (his own), believes he is always right and is quick to take offence. Having little capacity for objectivity his evidence was invariably self-serving and self-justifying. In these circumstances we find little weight can be attached to his account.”

At the same Court hearing, Crampton was accused of pouring a cup of coffee over a work colleague. I have wondered whether that atrocity had anything to do with his decision to call himself on Twitter, “caffeine-addict”.

With that description from a New Zealand Court, none of us should be surprised at the worthless 1174 words of rubbish published on his Kiwi Swimming Facebook page yesterday. Sadly, I suspect he lacks the intellectual capacity to analyse the sources and consequences of problems being experienced in swimming. Certainly the court’s description of, “having little capacity for objectivity”, make his opinions highly suspect.  

Here is a different view of where we stand:

  1. For twenty years Sport New Zealand appointed administrators like Layton, Cotterill, Miskimmin and Cameron who demanded that swimming follow a policy of centralisation. Coaches and administrators were brought to New Zealand from Australia, the UK, Spain and the United States.
  2. The result of this policy was that New Zealand swimming at the grass roots, died. Administrators no longer administered. Coaches no longer coached. The club and provincial scene became a wasteland. Swimming New Zealand assumed responsibility for it all. The destruction caused by that policy was catastrophic.
  3. Then two years ago Johns, Francis and Tongue either realised the error of their ways or ran out of sufficient money to pay for centralisation and returned responsibility to the clubs and regions. Their problem was clubs and regions had lost the ability to manage the sport. For twenty years Cotterill and company had demanded the right to do it all. Few of those involved in the regions and clubs had any experience in what they were being asked to do.
  4. Stripping the sport of qualified administrators and coaches had taken twenty years. It was not going to be fixed in two. And that of course is what we see today. Some regions and clubs make good decisions. Wellington, last weekend and Waikato next weekend are examples. HBPB and Manawatu are examples of regions where administrators are still catching up. Coaching is the same – a mixture of the good and the bad.
  5. The answer however is NOT to do what Crampton suggests and expect Johns, Tongue and Francis to do more. We asked for responsibility to be given back to the clubs and regions. We need to live with the consequences. We need to relearn. It is our job to fix HBPB and Manawatu. It is not Steve Johns’ job to do it for us. If membership numbers are dropping it is our job to fix the problem.  
  6. Like every good nanny-state New Zealander, Crampton wants the government, that’s Swimming New Zealand, to solve all his problems. Six times he tells me in this most recent Facebook post that all our problems are Steve Johns’ fault. That is a lie. We asked for responsibility to manage the business. Now we have it we need to learn quickly and get on with the job.
  7. And finally, in his 1174-word Facebook post Crampton spreads blame, like a rogue cup of coffee, all over Steve Johns and Swimming New Zealand. Nowhere is there a suggested solution. The regions and clubs are fighting back. Things are improving. Swimming is getting better. Sure, it will take time. Cotterill’s execution of the sport was a long and painful process. Johns, Tongue and Francis have done the right thing. Now Crampton should give their reforms time to work. He has been self-serving and self-justifying once. We can do without him repeating the error.

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