Three months ago, I undertook to never mention the Facebook page Kiwi Swimming again. And now I am going to break that promise. Because sometimes the terrible rubbish people write has the potential to cause actual harm – to make the sport unsafe. This is one of those occasions. Sixteen hours ago, Kiwi Swimming published an article ripping into Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) for scheduling the New Zealand Short Course Championships 15 days after the end of the Commonwealth Games. Swimmers will not be able to peak for the Nationals, the website screams. It is, the website says, a “most inconvenient time”. The tirade ends with a desperate, “what a mess this all is”.

Now I have no interest in what the author of Kiwi Swimming thinks or knows about swimming or sport in general. But what I do care about is athletes and their parents being misled by this trash. And so, let me give you some examples of runners and swimmers who have competed again a few days after peaking for a major event. It is a concept Kiwi Swimming has never heard of, called taking advantage of your peak.

·        Peter Snell did a tour of the UK to race immediately after the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. If I remember correctly his 800m victory at White City was the world’s fastest time that year.   

·        Peter Snell came back from winning the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and ran a mile race shortly after arriving home against the second and third Tokyo runners, Odložil and Davies. Snell won the race in a new world record.

·        John Walker left Montreal immediately after his 1976 Olympic 1500m win and beginning 5 days later ran a fast race in Philadelphia, followed by Stockholm, West Berlin, Gateshead, Cologne and London, before coming back to New Zealand. Rod Dixon followed the same schedule.

·        My wife Alison ran the final of the 1978 Commonwealth Games 1500m and a week later in London ran a PB 3000m in the British Women’s Championships.

·        My daughter Jane won the 2001 NZ Open SC Championship in Rotorua. Two weeks later she set a NZ Open SC 200m breaststroke record in Waipukurau and a week later swam in the World Cup finals in Melbourne.

·        After the 2012 London Olympic Games Michael Phelps raced again 21 days later in the United States. He swam 1.48.41 for the LCM 200m freestyle and 1.55.32 for the LCM 200m fly.  

·        Dozens of Commonwealth athletes have been competing this week in the 2022 World Track and Field Championships – including Muir (3rd 1500m), Wightman (1st 1500m), Hodgkinson (2nd 800m) and Walsh (4th shot put). They are all on an airplane right now heading to the UK to back-up at the Commonwealth Games in about 15 days’ time.

All those examples are called taking advantage of your peak. So, you can see the rubbish Kiwi Swimming is feeding swimmers and their parents. I guess we can make a decision – believe the 62 years’ experience of Snell, Walker, Alison, Jane, Phelps and Walsh or the tripe dished out by the author of a website who clearly knows nothing about the product.

You wouldn’t call a roading worker to put out a house fire. So it might be better not to read too much into Kiwi Swimming’s racing opinions.

Oh, and to the Commonwealth swimmers entered in the 2022 SC National Championships, swim fast. You should go well. You see, it’s called taking advantage of your peak.

And finally, well done SNZ and Gary Francis for perfectly scheduling the SC Nationals and World Championship trials an ideal 15 days after the Commonwealth Games. Clearly SNZ and Francis know what works which is a country mile more than can be said about at least one of their critics.      

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