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Leave Her A-Bloody-Lone

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Here at Swimwatch we have seldom discussed any subject except swimming related issues. We did comment on the ridiculous criticism John Key levelled at Kim Dotcom for owning an issue of “Mein Kampf”. And we did discuss the likelihood of the All Blacks winning the World Cup. But that’s about all.

And then last night on Television One news I watched various tennis professionals rip into Maria Sharapova for being given a wild card entry into the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany. Leading the character assassination was the Canadian Genie Bouchard. She is reported to have said:   

She’s a cheater and so to me … I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again. It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true. So, I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids—cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms. I don’t think that’s right and … [she’s] definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore because that’s definitely ruined it for me a little bit.

Sharapova answered the best way possible by refusing to comment and winning her two first games; beating Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 and Ekaterina Makarova 7-5 6-1.

Most readers will be aware that Sharapova has been serving a one month ban for taking meldonium. There were however extenuating circumstances. The drug was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in January 2016. Sharapova, who had been legally taking meldonium for a medical condition, was caught about a month after the ban. She says she did not realise the drug had been banned.

For a professional of her standing, I agree, not realising is not a good enough excuse. In fact it is no excuse at all. And so her 15 month ban was more than deserved.

But she has done her time and now needs to be able to return to the work where she makes her living. Anything else would be an illegal restraint of trade. World Tennis has acted entirely properly in arranging for her to enter and compete in the Stuttgart tournament and the two events that follow Stuttgart.

And as for the precious Genie Bouchard, Shakespeare penned a short message for her.

The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. But mercy is above this sceptered sway. It is enthroned in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute to God Himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this: That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation.    

For Ms Bouchard a touch of humility would improve her humanity no end. Sport at any level can do without the likes of Ms. Bouchard.

And so Maria play well in Stuttgart, and best wishes from us all at Swimwatch at the French Open. Go that girl.


What A Tit

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

By David

Having begun a trend of writing Swimwatch stories about non-swimming subjects I would ask your indulgence one more time. After all, next week the Commonwealth Game’s Trials are being held in Auckland. Time enough then to return to aquatic matters.

But before that I would like to consider the variety of comments posted on Swimwatch stories. Many of them are very good. “Northern Swimmer” is always quick to point out errors of fact or logic. He or she writes without malice and has been fair and polite for the years s/he has been visiting the site. There is the occasional light hearted personal note but the subject is normally more important than the author. Yesterday “Northern Swimmer” posted a comment on the Swimwatch John Key story. This is what was said.

Northern Swimmer (Guest):

I think you may have jumped the gun here. And since swimming now has a one start rule, prepare to be reprimanded. You are absolutely right that Kim Dotcom’s freedom of expression should be upheld – Article 19, the First Amendment, Voltaire, and all of that. But our illustrious Leader Key wasn’t trying to restrict KDC’s rights (this time). He was freely expressing his own opinion on KDC owning a copy of Mein Kampf, with the intention to profit greatly from its resale. And i think this is fair criticism, and understandable given Key’s (mother’s) family history. As for your voting options this year: has any of them jumped to defend Mr Dotcom’s liberties? And I would have picked you for a libertarian, given your preference for the market providing our national swim team rather than a state regime.

I think most of us would agree. The comment is constructive, open and funny; a good comment that adds an alternative and valid view to the Swimwatch line.

And then you get some really moronic comments. For example today Dr Felix Cumberbund left the following text on the Sam Rossiter-Stead story

Dr Felix Cumberbund

Who has written this? David, what is your last name? Anyone prepared to character assassinate a community volunteer, should have the guts to put their credentials on full display. Why would anyone want to volunteer when there is poisoned, malicious insanity like this out there?

Let’s take a minute to consider the stupidities wrapped up in these four lines.

First of all, the author’s name, Dr Felix Cumberbund, is clearly fictitious. Certainly Google has no record of a New Zealander with that name. So we know Felix is tough at asking me to reveal all while he hides behind a nom de plume. That pretty well means Felix meets all the criteria required of a pathetic hypocrite.

Second Felix asks, “Who has written this? David, what is your last name?” Well Felix right at the top of the Swimwatch title page, in big white capital letters you may be able to read the words ABOUT SWIMWATCH. Click on that link. Here is what you will find.

Swimwatch was founded in 2003 by David Wright and Edward Yardley. Although neither were sure of the meaning of the term ‘blog’, the site developed into one of New Zealand’s most well-read swimming blogs. Yardley now live in the United States, whilst Wright is back in New Zealand after living in the US as well. Late-edition to the Swimwatch team, Jane Copland, lives in London. However, after six years, Swimwatch continues to provide a somewhat-alternative look at the swimming world.

It might not be a full biography but it does tell you my last name, which if you add “Swim Coach” to my name Google will direct you to a Wikipedia page that provides much more detail. Clearly IQ and computer technology are not Felix strong points so here is the link to my Wikipedia page.

So, what is the next Felix point? “Anyone prepared to character assassinate a community volunteer, should have the guts to put their credentials on full display.” I suspect this post has more than adequately covered the mindless accusation of “credentials on full display”.

I am however not at all sure what Felix means by “character assassination”. I’ve just reread the Sam Rossiter-Stead story. Perhaps Felix can help. Is he suggesting that Sam Rossiter-Stead is not “the individual who distributed an email to the Wairarapa swimming community claiming that he was the recipient of “crank phone calls”? Does Felix believe that Sam Rossiter-Sread didn’t tell “anyone who would listen that he was “working with Vodafone and the police to identify the culprit”? Surely Felix doesn’t believe the Masterton police lied when they reported that they “were not checking out a list of Sam Rossiter Stead supplied numbers.” Is Felix saying Sam Rossiter- Stead didn’t devote “a whole paragraph to the plight of Wairarapa youngster Grace Yeates and compare her distress to the behavior of some in the Wairarapa swimming community?” Does Felix believe that the comparison with a very ill child is acceptable and in good taste? Tell me Felix have I got it wrong? I’m sure Sam Rossiter-Stead pleaded for those making crank calls to “increase the frequency of their calls”. Felix, let me know if I’ve got some facts wrong. It certainly seems pretty factual. No character assassination there that I can tell.

And the final Felix gem, “Why would anyone want to volunteer when there is poisoned, malicious insanity like this out there?” Over many years involved in sport; after contact with thousands of volunteers it is no secret that, like every population, there is the good, the bad and the ugly. Because people volunteer their time does not put them above critical analysis. Normal standards of truth, honesty, good taste and manners apply equally to the professional and the volunteer. When volunteers err, and in this case I think Sam Rossitter-Stead has blundered, it is entirely proper for those of us affected to point out what we consider to be faults.

So Felix, thank you for your views. As you can tell we think they are rubbish but as always even rubbish benefits from some fresh air.

Where O Death Is Your Victory

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

By David

The Swimwatch blog has seldom, perhaps never, addressed a subject that is not related to sport. True, on a number of occasions, we have strayed from swimming. Boxing, running, hunting and even All Black rugby have been discussed. There may be some who would argue that the pages spent on Swimming New Zealand politics are not really sport – and they could well be right. Certainly many of those involved in New Zealand swimming have little understanding of sport the way it was taught to me.

However, today that will change. This week an event occurred that is so repulsive, so devoid of humanity, that I feel justified in using the pages of Swimwatch to express my disgust. I refer, of course, to the shooting deaths of parents, teachers and children at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut.

I have lived in America for some time – one year at High School just outside of Green Bay Wisconsin, two years coaching in the US Virgin Islands and five years also coaching swimming in Delray Beach, Florida. That’s long enough to know that the United States is way too complex a subject to support any generalization. “Americans are horrible” ignores the millions of good people who live productive lives there. I know a host of them – Tiffany and Andrew, Jonathan, Larry, Skuba, Michael and Linda and John and Barbara. Republican or Democrat, and there are both in that list, these, and many others, are kind and generous people who treated me well during my time in their country. “America is a God-fearing nation” – and yet there are more strip clubs (3829) in the US than any other country on earth. Sex in the United States generates $12 billion dollars annually. “America is the richest county on earth” – in Miami and Los Angeles it is also home to some of the saddest sights of poverty I’ve seen. Even parts of Delray Beach, Florida, are called the ghetto with some good cause. “America’s health care is the best in the world” – and yet in the year 2000 a report by the World Health Organization put the United States in 37th place in healthcare outcomes, including mortality rates, immunization rates, and the number of people currently fighting disease, just behind Costa Rica. The USA is well known as the only industrialized nation that allows its citizens to go broke just by trying to stay alive. “America is a land of huge diversity” – even that’s not true. Can you tell me the difference between a McDonalds, a Staples, a KFC, a Walmart, a Starbucks, a Home Depot or a Target in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago or Miami. There is enough of the same blandness in the US to drive the average European crazy. “America is home to the world’s best athletes” – is that right? What about Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, the 1919 Black Sox, Tonya Harding, Danny Almonte, Bill Belicheck and Rosie Ruiz of Boston Marathon fame? No the USA is not a place that lends itself well to short generalizations.

And so with my disclaimer in place here is a generalization on the factors that I believe have influenced so many Americans to take a gun into a mosque, a movie theatre, an office, a restaurant, a University, a shopping mall and a school and gun down the innocent.

The United States is a country that nurtures violence. In a hundred ways violent behavior is supported and admired – even institutionalized. It is easy for an outsider, as I have always been, to see how a deranged and stressed mind could quickly resort to killing as a means of release. Let me list some examples.

American society still kills its worst offenders. One of the primary reasons the civilized world stopped capital punishment was because it brutalized its people. To the deranged mind it is an easy step – if my society kills those who do it harm, why shouldn’t I? US lawmakers, take a bow.

Recent American history is drenched in the blood of foreigners their government has justified killing – in Iraq 109,032 – in Afghanistan 13,000. US military take a bow.

Life in America is a constant parade of adulation for those whose job it is to kill others. No Presidential speech, football, baseball or hockey game would be complete without the spectacle of soldiers carrying guns and regimental colors. War, death, invasion and guns are more than normalized, they are revered.

Even their national anthem is about the glory of war – the lyrics come from “Defense of Fort McHenry”, a poem written by Francis Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Navy in the War of 1812. The anthem’s official website tells Americans, “The words should stir emotions that the National Anthem should be invoking in all of us today.”

Religion too gets in on the act. Former Arkansas governor, Presidential hopeful and darling of the evangelical, Mike Huckabee, claims that mass shootings are the result of the separation of church and state education. Because America has removed Huckabee’s God, from public schools, Huckabee told Fox News we “should not be surprised that schools would become a place of carnage”. I have no idea how he explains the absence of monthly massacres in the UK, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada who all have the same separation of church and education (it’s called secular education). Some leaders in the United States are fruitcakes.

Many average Americans are gun and military obsessed. Tom Gurley is the best example of this phenomenon. He was the President of the Aqua Crest Swim Team in Delray Beach. He had a relatively mundane job, managing a tree planting company. His wife was strange. I once took her on a swimming trip to Spain. She spent most of our week there searching out McDonalds, KFC and Subway fast food stores so she wouldn’t have to, “eat any Spanish food.” Tom’s daughter is a good swimmer who has not fulfilled her considerable potential. All in all a pretty typical American family – including the fact – Tom collects guns. In the middle of Delray Beach, Florida, one of the most densely populated portions of the United States, where there is no possible use for a gun, Tom lives absolutely delighted that the Second Amendment to his country’s constitution entitles him to arm himself with a range of semi-automatic weapons that any Afghan warlord would be proud to call his own. Sadly Tom is not alone. Adam Lanza’s family, in Connecticut, was equally well armed.

While I was in Delray Beach, Tom’s tree planting took him down to the Port of Miami. He came to the pool later that day positively buzzing with excitement; the ample hair on his chest was bursting from his shirt. “You know,” he said to me, “I’ve just seen ten US warships sail into Miami. We are the strongest country in the world; makes you proud to be an American.”

I do wonder if he is as proud today. But probably he hasn’t made the connection.

Editor’s note: I used to live in a house with as many as six or seven guns. The person I lived with liked them and “collected” them. I tried to ignore their presence, but as they became a larger and larger part of our lives, that became ever more difficult. The guns’ owner seemed to believe that he needed these weapons for self-defence. Along with an engineer’s fascination with taking them apart and putting them back together, he was convinced that they made him safer.

From whom, I was not sure.

But I’ll tell you what – when camping in the bush in Idaho where bears, moose and cougars are common and towns aren’t, I did feel safer knowing that one person in the party had a shotgun. Cougars especially are horrible animals, and the forests were relatively full of them. But that’s it. In a small flat in Seattle? Walking on Capitol Hill? Going to QFC? You need your concealed carry permit for that? You need assault rifles sitting next to your gym equipment? You actually carry the paranoid belief that you need arms to protect yourself from not only your fellow citizens, but from the city police, the state and the federal government?

The longer I spend outside of the United States, the more ridiculous all that sounds. And if any of it is true, it’s a situation they created for themselves by arming each other. Everyone is armed. The cops are armed because civilians are armed. Civilians are armed because the Second Amendment allows them to protect themselves against the government.

I spend a lot of time online and I am watching Americans defend their gun rights. They say alcohol kills people. Cars kill people. Trains kill people. Should we ban drinking and public transport?

Are you blindly ignoring the fact that cars, trains and booze were not created for the specific purpose of killing? I have no comprehension how these people, many of whom are my friends, can sit around and celebrate their nation’s free ownership of machines designed only to kill. It would be more understandable if these legally owned weapons were never involved in mass killings.

Legally owned guns are routinely responsible for these deaths. By proxy, I was a legal gun owner. I watched an otherwise sensible person become more and more convinced of his sense of security and control based upon seven weapons, some of which were semi-automatic, locked in a cabinet in his small Seattle flat. I lived in a 500 square foot apartment with three assault rifles. Even I can’t believe that.

Sometimes I think this country (the UK) goes too far in the other direction regarding self defence; until recently, people were being prosecuted for inflicting harm on burglars confronted in their homes. But the US’s celebration of militarism, weaponry and killing startles and confuses me as much now as it did when I was removing flyers for semi-automatic guns and ammunition designed to break apart in a victim’s body from the junkmail in my letterbox on a Saturday morning.

We could all write forever about gun laws and fallacies and mental health, but let me say as someone who lived in a home with these guns, they are abhorrent. They made us a lot less safe. We both knew how to use them, clean them and lock them away, and yet I never felt so vulnerable than when we were storing machines designed to kill us in our own home.

People ask me all the time why I left the US. The list of things I love about the country is long, but so is the list of reasons I left. Not sending my kids to schools where guns are kept or brought to was pretty high up there.

New Zealand Swimming Championships 2011

Monday, April 11th, 2011

By David

I begin this story with a heavy heart. The New Zealand Swimming Championships have just ended. It was the most contemptible and depressing version of this meet I have ever attended. The meet now reflects perfectly the character and personality of the person who has led this sport in New Zealand for a decade; full of intrigue and deception, politics and graft. It was a most disheartening sight.

But before I address the concerns that have brought swimming to its knees, I am pleased to report that Swimwatch has hired a prominent firm of attorneys to investigate and report on the decision of the Swimming New Zealand Board to alter the published minutes of the 2010 Annual General Meeting. In particular, I have asked the attorneys to consider whether the SNZ Board’s decision to remove a properly passed remit from the minutes is in any way illegal or unconstitutional and what further action they would recommend. We will report to you in full on their findings. As you can well imagine this type of action is something Swimwatch can ill afford. However the sport of swimming can even less afford to have a group at its head who alter the course of history if it doesn’t suit them.

Jan Cameron’s ways are an abomination. They deny all the good this proud little country represents. I walked into the pool on the first day of competition to find that Cameron’s Millennium Institute swimmers were permanently located in privileged seats next to the New Zealand selectors while the rest of us were expected to shift around the pool to a new location every day. The Millennium swimmers arrived in their black and silver outfits already adorned with the silver fern. There is no need for any of them to win an international swimming race – they already have the finest seats in the building and have become heirs to a uniform their predecessors had to earn. I have the privilege of living in a home where my wife and my daughter represented New Zealand in track and swimming. I have also coached a dozen athletes who have represented four different nations. I know the effort it took them to earn and the value they put on their national uniform. New Zealand’s uniform is not for some Australian to give away to anybody that turns up at her Millennium Institute.

I have also been fortunate enough to attend swim meets with swimmers whose names you might recognize – Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Dara Torres, Amanda Weir, Ian Thorp, Matt Biondi and several other similarly prominent names. Without exception these swimmers sat with their club mates. They mixed happily with those who would never progress past the heats. They displayed a humility that kept them in touch with reality; that kept them aware that they must perform. Even at this meet names like Danyon Loader, Rhi Jeffrey, Gary Hurring, Paul Kent and Jon Winter sat with the common herd. But with four Olympic medals and a dozen World Championship finals between them I guess they represent the sport the way it used to be. The way it was before Cameron.

I owe New Zealand’s Head Coach, Mark Regan, an apology. Here, at Swimwatch, we assumed Regan was a willing Cameron puppet. We were wrong. He was actually her pawn. He was employed as a temporary stand in, to fill in time before Cameron could complete her real mission of appointing her son to the position of New Zealand’s National Coach. At these National Championships Cameron took the next step towards assembling her family dynasty. The team of coaches selected to accompany New Zealand’s swimmers to the World Championships excluded the National Coach, Mark Regan. The three coaches that will travel with the team are Cameron’s son, Scott Talbot, Christchurch coach Leanne Speechley and Invercargill coach Jeremy Duncan. I would be surprised if Regan did not see this as the insult, Cameron certainly intended. He will resign and Cameron will announce that her son will reluctantly step in to save Swimming New Zealand in its hour of need; mission accomplished. But really, you would have to be pretty bloody stupid to believe it was any way to run a national sport. For four years Swimwatch has been pleading for the sport to stand-up to the Cameron dictatorship. This time perhaps someone is listening.

I watched Scott Talbot closely during the Woman’s 100 freestyle final. The race was a essentially a head to head contest between a swimmer from the Millennium Institute, Tash Hind, and a swimmer who left Scott Talbot ten weeks ago to be coached in the United States, Hayley Palmer. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they react in circumstances like that. Well, in this case Tash Hind won and Scott Talbot danced all over Hayley Palmer. He pumped the air and beat his chest. They say sport does not make character, but certainly reveals it. What was revealed in this instance was most unpleasant. Swimming New Zealand with Scott Talbot in charge will be a nasty place. Good manners, breeding and dignity will recede further into our past. Mark Regan has done a good job in exceptionally difficult circumstances. He should be going to the World Championships in China. We wish him better in the future than he has been dealt here.

The announcement of the World Championship team was a mystery wrapped up in an enigma. I was pleased to see “B” qualifiers, Hayley Palmer, Dylan Dunlop-Barrett and Matthew Stanley, selected. One thing I don’t understand though. While Hayley Palmer’s selection is a good one and well deserved, I’d have thought Cameron would have preferred to have her finger nails removed than select the swimmer who rejected her son’s coaching. I’d love to know what caused Cameron sufficient grief; what put her under enough pressure that she included New Zealand’s fastest female swimmer on the team. We will never know but there must have been something. It’s the only time I’ve seen her chicken out of anything. Perhaps she is afraid of the SPARC investigation. I hope so.

Cameron’s influence on the sport of swimming in New Zealand has been awful. The National Championships are not a patch on what they used to be. Ironically though it was Cameron who provided one of the event’s best moments. A swimmer who had been in Cameron’s office recently was telling me about the visit. In a voice positively complete with awe she said, “There is a name plate that goes all the way across Cameron’s desk.” With a title like “Swimming New Zealand General Manager of Performance and Pathways”, I guess it probably does. With an once of luck though, it won’t be there much longer.

From our Club, Jessica Marston performed best, improving her 100 freestyle by one second, her 200 by the same amount, her 400 by four seconds and her 800 by ten seconds; just reward for 664 kilometers she swam in this season’s eight weeks of build up aerobic conditioning.

For Times They Are A Changin’

Monday, February 28th, 2011

By David

Writing a blog is occasionally all too much. The critics, tiredness and other pressing issues intervene to make the politics of Project Vanguard and Jan Cameron’s failings seem trivial and unimportant. And then events occur that lift the spirit and compel a return to normality.

Today the Auckland and Bay of Plenty Swimming Regions provided two such events. Swimming Auckland adapted their March Auckland Open Championships to allow participation by all swimmers 12 years of age and over. The new programme will be some compensation for swimmers affected by the Division Two National’s postponement, caused by the Christchurch earthquake. But more importantly, as a result of the support of the West Wave Aquatic Centre, Swim T3, Speedo and also CLM/Swim Magic, Auckland will donate 100% of the proceeds from this meet to a charity associated with the earthquake disaster relief.

Swimming Bay of Plenty has agreed to host a new meet at the Rotorua Aquatic Centre on 18th to 20th March. Their meet will offer an opportunity for those who were preparing to swim at the Division Two Nationals, the chance to swim in Rotorua. Swimming Bay of Plenty has drawn on the wide support of their community including the Rotorua Aquatic Centre, Swim T3 and Speedo. The same as Swimming Auckland, 100% of the proceeds from their meet will be donated to an earthquake charity.

This next comment is not playing politics with the pain of Christchurch. It’s not, because it’s important and it’s true. The sort of initiative you see coming from the Auckland and Bay of Plenty Regions will disappear if Project Vanguard is allowed to proceed. Canterbury is in the middle of a period of unimaginable distress. It is appropriate that fellow Regions, fellow swimming folk, people like Jill Vernon was, come to the aid of friends in need of help. That won’t happen in the Project Vanguard world. Cathy Hemsworth has told us that emotion and feeling and care will be replaced with efficiency. Instead of good, gentle swimming people, we will have University trained slickness; corporate speak money men. The reason Project Vanguard should fail is perfectly framed by the two swim meets planned in March; when swimming people will look after swimming people.

It would be improper to criticise any contribution to Canterbury’s need for help. However I have to say that SNZ’s offer of the gross margin on the sale of a few dozen Division Two t-shirt is painfully inadequate. If that’s the way Hemsworth’s “modern management” works I pray I never need their help in the bush on a dark night.

This point was further highlighted at a swim meet I was at in Manurewa this morning. The coach of a small rural club introduced himself and said he enjoyed reading Swimwatch. I was amazed at the depth of feeling contained in his expression of concern about Project Vanguard. If he is representative of swimming’s grass roots, they don’t want a bar of Universities and corporate speak. Shortly after this discussion a long term Club administrator sat beside me and said, “David, can you explain why you are against Project Vanguard?” She said she had been at Hemsworth’s Counties’ presentation. Hemsworth had sold her the Project Vanguard brave new world.

I’ve met the Counties type of long term swimming administrator before. Beth Meade, my old coach from Gisborne, was just like her. These people are the foundation on which the sport in New Zealand was founded. They built the sport that produced Anna Simcic, Toni Jeffs, Phillippa Langrell, Antony Mosse, Paul Kingsman, Paul Kent, Jon Winter, Trent Bray, Anna Wilson and Danyon Loader. Swimmers that won world event medals before Cameron got hold of the sport and taught us all what a decade of losing looked like. They are the salt of this swimming world; they matter enormously.

However, of course the Manurewa lady was impressed with Hemsworth. She has devoted her life to swimming. She has nothing but its best interests at heart. She is fertile ground for anything that sounds like progress. Her good intentions are being exploited. In Biblical terms, Hemsworth is a false prophet in sheep’s clothing. Good people need to hear that there is another point of view.

They need to realize their own importance. Right now this sport is democratic. It is owned and managed by the Regions. The Manurewa lady and Counties’ coach have genuine power. Through the Counties Region the sport is owned by them; not some sporting carpetbagger or part time bank teller. For many years the Regions have done a good job of running swimming. And they still do. Recent events have confirmed that the Regions work well together when one of them has a problem. Byrne, Hemsworth, Coulter and Cameron don’t want this. They want to run things their way – lock, stock and barrel. They want a dictatorship. I have even heard executives on the SNZ and FINA gravy-train argue that because SNZ is the national organ of FINA, it is “essential” that SNZ have sole ownership of their affairs. They cannot be owned by anyone. Well that is just the twisted logic of an autocrat. There is no reason why the FINA representative in New Zealand cannot be democratically controlled. Our Government is; why shouldn’t SNZ?

Isn’t it interesting that the Auckland and Bay of Plenty initiative has not even been mentioned on Swimming New Zealand’s website. How pathetically churlish and small minded is that. Mind you it’s impossible to believe a word their website prints. Weeks after Swimwatch told SNZ that Hayley Palmer and Lauren Boyle were not swimming at the Millennium Institute; they still have both swimmers listed as members. The error is now deliberate which makes it a lie.

So, well done Auckland and Bay of Plenty Swimming and thank you to the Counties’ coach and administrator for an interesting morning. It is my real hope that the New Zealand you represent will prevail and that you will continue to exercise your version of this nation’s sense of fairness over the affairs of swimming in New Zealand.

PS – Further information on the Auckland and Bay of Plenty earthquake initiatives can be found in this PDF file.