Archive for April, 2011

Intern Report

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

By David

Last week we reported on the Swimwatch request made to the Office of the Ombudsman. We asked The Ombudsman to order Swimming New Zealand to release the Sweetenham Report. We have now received a reply. Here is what The Office of the Ombudsman had to say:

Dear Mr Wright

I have spoken with Mr Fieldsend at SPARC.

He has contacted Swimming NZ again and they have confirmed that they will be releasing the Sweetenham Report along with a substantial amount of other information on their website by the end of next week.

Given that a decision has been made to release the report and that the release is imminent, section 18(d) would typically be used in such situations.

Yours sincerely


Office of the Ombudsmen

At the time of writing this article we have been waiting 17 days and 12 hours for Swimming New Zealand to perform the two minute task of posting the Sweetenham Report on their website. For some Regions the wait has been a touch longer than that. SNZ were asked by the Regions to make the Report available when it was first published three years ago. Until Swimwatch got on to their case SNZ consistently refused every request. Then 17 days ago SNZ told Swimwatch they would publish the Report “soon”. Assuming the Report is posted on the SNZ website at the end of next week we will know that the Coulter, Byrne and Cameron idea of “soon” is 24 days.

It really is pathetic. Coulter works for the Bank of New Zealand. I hope his idea of “soon” has not crept into that organization’s business. “Your interest will be paid soon”, takes on a whole new frightening meaning. In case you end up at Coulter’s desk it might be an idea to transfer your funds to the ANZ. No wonder New Zealand’s swimmers have struggled to win a world class swimming race; if the Millennium swimmers have had to stand around for 24 days waiting for all the “soon” things to be delivered. I hate to think what state their suits must be in if the new ones are about to be delivered “soon”. As with everything at Swimming New Zealand their idea of good business is well short of an acceptable commercial standard.

Swimwatch were alerted to another Swimming New Zealand travesty this week. In 2008, when the Regions commissioned Project Vanguard, this is what they ordered.

That the Board appoint a sub-committee consisting of three board members and three nominated regional representatives to review the current regional structure and make recommendations to the board as to how this could be optimized.

What Coulter, Byrne and Hemsworth have come up with is a plan to abolish the Regions all together. That is not what they were asked to do. Why are they incapable of doing what they are told? They were told to “optimize” the Regional structure. That means, recommending ways of improving the Regional structure; making it better. The Regions were asking for ways to improve their operation. They were not turkeys voting for Christmas to come early. It’s the first time I’ve heard of anything being “optimized” in oblivion.
Coulter and Byrne and Hemsworth, the Coulter Gang, have acted way outside their brief. They have assumed powers they were never given. They have acted with reckless independence. Their behaviour merits censure and dismissal. They have not provided the Regions with a plan to improve performance. Instead they have pursued an agenda of power way outside their commission. What the Coulter gang has turned Project Vanguard into is an abomination that was never asked for. On this transgression alone Project Vanguard should be dismissed by the Regions and its authors relegated to some other occupation.

Here at Swimwatch we no longer see a need for a Regional go/no go vote. The fact that the Coulter gang has acted so far outside its brief should be the subject of a judicial injunction relegating this whole sorry Vanguard episode to a small and sad chapter of New Zealand swimming history. We will have a studied opinion on all this when the legal report we have commissioned is received shortly.

Among a number of specious claims made by the Coulter Gang during the Project Vanguard process is that “the restructuring will help maximise the resources available leading to a reduction of operating costs.” As has been pointed out in previous Swimwatch articles how can anything that pays for work that was previously done for free possibly reduce operating costs. Mind you, when it comes to money, I wouldn’t trust a thing the Coulter Gang say. There website tells me there are 16 professional staff. A cursory count of the organization chart tells us there is in fact something in excess of twenty paid staff. Mind you errors of fact are a speciality of the Coulter Gang’s website.

There is one job that is of interest. I see the Millennium Institute High Performance staff roster now includes an Intern, someone called Emma Dean. What on earth does an Intern do in the High Performance environment? What high performance service does she provide? Does she work closely with the either or both of the High Performance Coaches. Were her duties the subject of an application to the SNZ Board? Did the Board approve her appointment and confirm that her duties were important to New Zealand’s international sporting success. Here at Swimwatch we would be especially interested in hearing, just how does Emma Dean fill her days?

Next week Swimwatch will report on the contents of the Sweetenham Report. Without taking the step of making an Official Information application I am certain that the Coulter Gang would still be keeping its contents secret. Let’s hope the wait of three years and 24 days has been worthwhile. We think it will be. Why else would the Coulter Gang have hidden the thing this long?

End of Term Report

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

By David

It is a fitting time of the year to report on the current state of affairs in Swimming New Zealand; a balance sheet of where they are at right now; a snap shot into the Coulter, Byrne and Cameron swimming world.


For the past month Chris Ineson has been trying to find out what various New Zealanders think about Swimming New Zealand. Well today, the 26 April 2011, is the day he’s due to report his findings to SPARC. I can’t imagine a more critical day in the lives of a generation of New Zealand swimmers. Inneson has the opportunity to put the sport of swimming back on track. I hope he is man enough to do it?

I suspect London 2012 is already lost. The damage is too great. The hurt is too deep. I’m sure SPARC understands that as well. Why else would they have commissioned a review of the sport? For the sport of swimming to make progress in New Zealand Inneson has to recommend that Cameron concentrate on her Sky Television duties and Byrne apply himself to another sport; haggis hurling in New Zealand needs a bit of a boost. SPARC then has to follow through and withhold their cash until the sport puts their house in order.

I guess the real question is how long will it take to find out what Ineson has recommended. If the Sweetenham Report is anything to go by we might hear something in a little over three years.


Three years ago, Australian coach Bill Sweetenham was asked to report on the state of swimming in New Zealand. On several occasions since, including this recent attempt, Swimming New Zealand have been asked to make the Report public. On every occasion Swimming New Zealand has refused.

A month ago Swimwatch made an Official Information Act request for the Sweetenham Report. Two weeks ago Swimming New Zealand declined our request. Yesterday Swimwatch sent the following email requests to SPARC and to the New Zealand Ombudsman.

First, here is the Swimwatch letter to the Office of the Ombudsmen:

Dear Sir

Reference Number 308465

The purpose of this email is to file a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman in accordance with Section 28 of the Official Information Act 1982. In particular I refer to Clause 5:

“Undue delay in making official information available in response to a request for that information, shall be deemed, for the purposes of subsection (1), to be a refusal to make that information available.”

The circumstances in this case are as follows.

1. On Monday 14 March 2011 I wrote to the Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Sport, requesting a three year old Report on swimming in New Zealand, called the Sweetenham Report. The Report had never been made public and I made my request in terms of the Official Information Act 1982.

2. The Minister referred my request to the sport’s funding agency SPARC, who in turn requested the Sweetenham Report from Swimming New Zealand. On 12 April 2011 I received a letter from the CEO of SPAC. His letter refused my request and gave the following explanation.

“I am refusing your request under Section 18(d) of the Act because the information you have requested is or will soon be publically available. I have been informes by Swimming New Zealand that the report you have requested will soon be made available on Swimming New Zealand’s website.”

3. All that was nine days ago; well outside any reasonable definition of “soon”. I am concerned that Swimming New Zealand is using the immanent publication of information reason to delay and maybe even avoid providing the Sweetenham Report.

4. Right now Swimming New Zealand’s High performance Program is the subject of a SPARC special investigation. Publication of the Sweetenham Report during this investigation could influence the investigation and is something Swimming New Zealand would prefer to avoid.

5. I am of the view that Swimming New Zealand are delaying making the Sweetenham Report available in order to keep its contents secret until after the SPARC Review concludes at the end of April. Swimming New Zealand has no intention of publishing it on their website and as such they are in breach of Section 28(5) of the Official Information Act 1982.

I request the Office of the Ombudsman look into this matter urgently and would ask that Swimming New Zealand be ordered to either publish the Report on their website or forward it to me prior to 30 April 2011.

Thank you for your attention

And second the Swimwatch letter to SPARC

Peter Miskimmin

Chief Executive



Dear Peter,

Thank you for your letter dated 12 April 2011 replying to my request under the Official Information Act for the Sweetenham Report. Swimming New Zealand refused my request on the grounds that the Reprt was about to be published on their website.

That was eleven days ago and the Report has not been published. I have therefore made application to the New Zealand Ombudsman for Swimming New Zealand to be ordered to provide the Sweetenham Report immediatly. I have copied the Ombudsman and the Minister’s Office with this email.

However, two questions arise from your letter that I would appreciate having answered.

1. I note you that you asked Swimming New Zealand for a copy of the Sweetenham Report. Can you confirm that SPARC has never seen or read this report. Can you confirm that no copy of the Sweetenham Report is held either electronically or physically by anyone in the SPARC organization. That would be strange as the Report was referred to in the Terms of Reference SPARC prepared for the current Review of Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance program.

2. If SPARC has a copy of the Sweetenham Report why wasn’t that sent to me. After all SPARC was the organization, the Minister asked to deal with the request.

I would appreciate your clarification in order that I can obtain the Report and better understand the Review of Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance program, that you have commissioned.

Kind Regards

We will, of course post the replies to both letters on Swimwatch.


Most Swimwatch readers will be aware that we caught someone in Swimming New Zealand taking down the published minutes of the last Annual General Meeting from the organization’s website, removing a remit passed by the meeting requiring SNZ to obtain approval before progressing Project Vanguard and then reposting the altered minutes on their website. Since then SNZ has progressed Project Vanguard as though the original remit never existed. Fortunately Swimwatch has access to some pretty sophisticated computer brains and one of them discovered the original remit still existed. They copied the original and we posted it on Swimwatch. This may prove to be Swimming New Zealand’s Nixon Tapes. We hope so.

We have commissioned New Zealand’s leading firm of sport’s lawyers to take a look at the events surrounding the deception. They are currently collecting information and will report back to Swimwatch in a week or so. This event has more potential to expose the corruption that we suspect characterizes Swimming New Zealand than any other. It’s amazing how often bad people get tripped up by the small things. Marion Jones ended up in jail because she lied to a Grand Jury, not because she took steroids. Al Capone was caught for tax evasion, not for one hundred Chicago murders. The events at Swimming New Zealand are not of the same scale but altering the published minutes and removing an inconvenient remit may yet prove to be the Board of Swimming New Zealand’s down fall.

We will publish on Swimwatch the lawyers report as soon as it is received.

So there it is; Swimming New Zealand’s end of term report. I suspect the Dean’s report should say.

“Dear Parent: Your offspring is up to his arse in alligators and has no idea in the wide world what to do about it.”

Liars End Up Deceiving Themselves

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Here’s a quote from the front page of Swimming New Zealand’s website.

“The swimmers including Emily Thomas, who last year became New Zealand’s first medalist in 23 years at the Pan Pacific Championships.”

Who writes this trash? I coached Toni Jeffs when she won a bronze medal at the 1991 Pan Pacific Games. And that was twenty years ago. If I remember correctly Anna Simcic and Phillipa Langrell won medals at the same meet. In the 1995 Pan Pacific Games, I think, Danyon Loader won medals in the 200 and 400 meters freestyle and the men’s relay team won two medals as well. And all that was sixteen years ago.

So what’s all this about twenty-three years? There wasn’t even a Pan Pacific Games twenty-three years ago. You just can’t believe a word that organization says.

In previous Swimwatch articles, I’ve mentioned an old swimming friend of mine who lives in Australia. She has a mole in Pelorus House who provides her with a pile of information about Swimming New Zealand. Today she sent me an email that the Swimming New Zealand Chairman, Murray Coulter, has sent to the sixteen member Regions.

It begins, “Dear Regions”. That’s the first lie. This is the guy who is leading the charge to abolish every Region in the country. He wants to strip them of their money and their fixed assets and then he wants to see the Regions relegated to the oblivion of swimming history. How dare he address those he wants to obliterate as “Dear Regions”.

Coulters next paragraph tells us a lot about how a Post-Vanguard Swimming New Zealand will act. Here is what he says.

The Board has received a recommendation from the Project Vanguard Committee that with the delivery of the Operating Options Report, associated with the summary of the second regional consultation phase, that the Committee’s mandated tasks have been completed. It was unanimously recommended to the Board that a fresh governance structure would be appropriate to support the project as it moves forward. Accordingly the Board Committee which has steered and governed the project until now will be dissolved.

The problem here is that the committee that was set up to steer Project Vanguard was set up by a vote at an Annual General Meeting. Its creation was ordered by the members of Swimming New Zealand. It can only be disestablished by the same members. It is not for Coulter or his Board to dissolve. They have no mandate to meddle with that Committee. But Coulter does not care about that. He’ll do it anyway. It is unconstitutional. It is arrogant. Little wonder the New Zealand Olympic Committee saw through this upstart and dumped him back onto the streets of Wellington after one season on their Board.

In an amazing burst of gobbledegook Coulter then delivers this gem.

“The Board remains resolved to deliver improved services through the organisation, by improving governance and management capability and driving for an outcome of increased participation. The next steps will focus on this and we are looking to support an accelerated delivery.”

So there we have it, a Coulter admission; Coulter’s Easter confession. Project Vanguard is moving into a period of “next steps”. Coulter knows he’s not allowed to do that. He might manipulate Annual Meeting minutes and alter properly passed remits but he cannot escape the truth. He was ordered by the Regions to obtain their approval before moving on to “next steps”. And he is not doing that. He is blatantly ignoring a properly passed instruction. He is treating every Region in the country with contempt. However his day will come. Swimwatch has employed New Zealand’s best sports attorney to look at the Swimming New Zealand action of altering the minutes of the Annual Meeting. Like President Nixon, President Coulter would probably say, “I am not a crook.” Let’s see what a good firm of Auckland lawyers have to say about that.

“The Vanguard Committee have led the foundation stages in preparing the organisation for what will be significant change. No doubt we still have some difficult times ahead as our country faces a number of major changes forced by financial and geographic events. We are fully committed to finding outcomes which avoid duplication, reduce the financial and people costs of service delivery and consistently provide high standards through efficient systems and processes.”

Well Coulter, our advice is, don’t you count on introducing “significant change” just yet. You might have power on your side but the Regions have right. You may be able to bulldoze on, distributing largess, forming committees and workshops to massage your message, but “we the people” are not done yet. Your organization is corrupt. It has lost the moral authority to govern. We are determined to see you fail. How can you possibly say Project Vanguard will “reduce the financial costs of service delivery”? You are about to start paying people to do work volunteers currently do for free. How can that possibly reduce the cost of anything? It’s just rubbish. How can you claim that your Project Vanguard is going to “consistently provide high standards through efficient systems and processes?”

The only thing you’ve been in control of for a decade is the High Performance Program and it’s a shambles. Scott Cameron barely talks to Mark Regan. Swimmers chop and change between the two coaches in a bizarre game of musical swimming chairs. Regan takes half the New Zealand team to Queensland to prepare for the World Championships and Scott flies off with the other half to the United States. Regan doesn’t even get picked to go to the World Championships until SPARC steps in and orders some sanity. The only thing you currently run is the subject of a full performance Review ordered by SPARC. Clearly they are not too impressed by your current “systems and processes”.

“The working groups being established have a specific task to complete over the next few weeks in order to provide process level data that will support a high level design for an optimal operating model to be evaluated. They have been selected especially for their knowledge of existing processes and volumes and they will be dissolved following this step.”

Did you ever read as much meaningless jargon as those 59 words? “A high level design for an optimal operating model to be evaluated.” Murray Coulter, we are not the sort of people who are impressed by your complicated sentence construction. We know you have failed to win a medal at a world class swimming event for a decade now. We know your organization spins the truth. We’ve seen you alter meeting minutes. We have watched you ignore the instructions of the Regions. Right now, we see you as long on words, short on performance. We are not of a mind to give your Resume more power and our money.

Actually this paragraph provides the best laugh I’ve had all week. Coulter is so full of MBA speak and yet he writes this sentence – “They (that’s the Committee members) have been selected especially for their knowledge of existing processes and volumes and they will be dissolved following this step.” The picture of Coulter stirring a barrel of sulphuric acid behind Pelorus House while Toomey drags out used up Committee members to be dissolved is hard to resist. Anyone asked to be on that Committee; you have been warned.

“The Board in the meantime will assume the project governance function directly, with a group of Mark Berge (Chairman), Humphrey Pullon and Dominic Toomey supporting our Chief Executive Mike Byrne and the Project Manager Cathy Hemsworth in completing the current phase.”

At last a glimmer of truth – “The Board in the meantime will assume the project governance function directly.” Here is an insight into Coulter’s post Vanguard world. “The Board will assume” – and that’s what this is all about. They want power. They have no right to disband the current Steering Committee and appoint themselves in charge of the process. That’s what dictators do.

Only the Regions can approve that structural change. We are being treated with contempt. But on a personal level, there are two things I find upsetting? Dominic Toomey is young, he comes from a family steeped in swimming history and he is a lawyer. I would hope those qualities would produce a man prepared to do what is right. Is Dominic Toomey going to be a man that does what’s right or a lawyer who finds legal loopholes to justify his organization altering the minutes of an Annual Meeting? Agreeing to act on what could be seen as an unconstitutional “group” is not an auspicious sign. I’ve been to a couple of meetings where Project Vanguard Committee member Suzanne Speer has spoken her mind with courage and concern. She clearly has fears for the direction Project Vanguard is taking. As a result of Swimming New Zealand’s unauthorized restructuring she has been dumped. It appears dissent will not be tolerated in Coulter’s new world.

“We will settle on a new engagement model for the following step/s over the next month or so which will see us designing a fairly detailed model for the delivery of all services offered by the organisation to members which will form the bones of a business case for change.”

This seems to be a pretty stark confession. Coulter intends to move this process on without any recognition of the order that he first obtains the approval of the Regions. The Swimming New Zealand organization is arrogant beyond belief. Every fibre in every decent person’s body says. “They cannot possibly do this. They must obtain approvals. They cannot alter minutes. They cannot dissolve Annual Meeting ordered Committees. They cannot assume unchallenged “governance” without the approval of the members.” And yet, in Coulter’s Swimming New Zealand they do this stuff all the time.

“The board thanks the Project Vanguard Committee for its work. It has been a trying environment, facing into necessary change, and they have provided the guidance and leadership to run significant consultation across the membership enabling the identification of the opportunity as outlined in their report.”

Murray: committee is singular – “it has provided”, not “they have provided”. It may have been beneficial to invest in a basic English course before you took on the task of leading Swimming New Zealand down the Project Vanguard path. I was at a meeting recently and listened to a presentation on Project Vanguard. I was told the swimming world was about to become a better place. Swimming New Zealand would be able to impose “uniform standards” on everyone so that we all could teach learn to swim the same way. We could all coach champions according to a Swimming New Zealand set of standards. Wasn’t that fantastic? Honestly I can’t imagine anything worse. I have no wish to coach the same way as Gary Hurring or Jeremy Duncan or Jon Winter. I certainly have no wish for them to coach the same way as me. In the United States, their coaching diversity is their strength. Our goal must be to strengthen the component parts; to have Gary, Jon, Paul and me express our coaching personalities in our own way, not force us all to participate in Coulters vision of having Swimming New Zealand “assume the project governance function directly”.

Murray Coulter


Murray Coulter, ex-member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and, with an ounce of luck, soon to be ex-president of Swimming New Zealand.

Well Done Auckland

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

By David

Until a year ago I’d never lived in Auckland. In fact for a son of the “Deep South” it was a city to get in and out of in the shortest possible time. I suspect the opportunity to coach at Ross Anderson’s old Westie club is the only lure attractive enough to get me to live in the headquarters of the white shoes and hair gel set. However, take a bow Auckland. As they say in Lawrence, Central Otago, “Good on ya, mate.”

You see, this weekend the Auckland Region put on an event called the “ANZAC Swim for Canterbury”. And it was bloody brilliant. A dozen of Australia’s best swimmers came to Auckland to support the cause. Names such as Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper, Libby and Luke Trickett, Brenton Rickard, Marieke Guehrer, Shane Gould, Rachel Goh, Andrew Baildon and American Rhi Jeffrey, plus New Zealanders, Danyon Loader, Helen Norfolk, Hayley Palmer, Sophie Pascoe, Anna Simcic, Glenn Snyders, Tash Hind, Orinoco Faamausili Banse, Jaynie Hudgell and Melissa Ingram. The event was a practical demonstration of why Project Vanguard is a useless piece of old twaddle. “ANZAC Swim for Canterbury” highlighted the huge contribution and unity of New Zealand’s swimming regions. It showed the true heart of New Zealand swimming beating strongly. And do you know what? When all that’s good in swimming was on display, Swimming New Zealand couldn’t even bother to turn up – not a person, not a cheque; nothing.

The weekend began with a dinner. We were lucky enough to have world record holder and world champion, Marieke Guehrer, at our table. She is very good value. She told us the romantic story about her boyfriend’s marriage proposal on the roof top of their hotel in Rome and admitting that after their wedding her name translated into English will mean “the virgin Mary on a cross”. A panel discussion with all the Australian swimmers was interesting. Libby Trickett explained why she had decided to return to swimming; simple really, she just missed it too much. Leisel Jones told us why she felt it was important to have a life outside of swimming and Shane Gould gave us an insight into her new passion for photography. It was good. Swimmers from our Club, who I never would have thought would be into getting autographs, were lining up to get their menu cards signed. Clearly they had gained inspiration from their look into the life of a champion.

On Saturday morning we had about twenty young swimmers attend a series of clinics taken by the visiting Australians. Our group was fortunate indeed. The tutors for their clinic were Shane Gould and Jessicah Schipper. Next week I’m going to have to make sure that our guys are aware, the two strangers teaching them to swim were Olympic Champions, World Record holders and that one of them had once held every World Record from the 100 to the 1500 freestyle, at the same time – and at only sixteen years of age. I was delighted. Even if the things our swimmers were being told were the same as they hear most days at training, to hear it reinforced by Gould and Schipper was priceless. A short time ago I received an email from a parent questioning our use of swimming drills. It was pleasing therefore to see the drills Gould and Schipper used during the clinic. I’ve always been a great supporter of using drills to improve stroke technique. It’s nice to know that Gould and Schipper agree.

And on Saturday evening we had a league style swim meet for juniors at 5.30pm and for seniors, including the stars of this sport at 7.00pm. I must admit that on this occasion, it was not stars that impressed me most. I am lucky enough to have seen the world’s best swimmers compete at many meets around the world. I watch an Olympic gold medallist in practice every day. No, what I enjoyed was the unusual. For example it’s not often you get to see rugby legends Josh Kronfeld and Ian Jones try their hand at 50 meters freestyle. I remember Kronfeld being into surfing when he was playing for Otago and the Highlanders. It clearly had an effect. His swimming is still better than average.

Now, I have a confession to make. For two years or about 1200 training sessions I have coached Rhi Jeffrey. She is an enormous talent. Mark Schubert once told me she had more natural talent than any swimmer he had coached. And he’s coached a few – Janet Evans and Dara Torres for example. I agree with Mark. However Rhi has a failing. In all the time I have coached her; through hundreds of medley sets, I have never seen her swim breaststroke – until last night. There was Rhi swimming 50 meters breaststroke against Leisel Jones – may as well start at the top. She did not win of course and her 40.05 time suggests that some work is required if she is to continue her breaststroke career. The whole evening was like that. Cricketers, yachties, triathletes and media personalities mixed with swimming royalty in an occasion that was just good, clean, honest fun.

There was one cloud though. There was a mix up with the entries for the three swimmers from our club competing in the senior meet. At the last minute it was sorted out and they all took a normal part in the evening. I had been home from the meet for less than an hour when my phone rang. It was Brian Palmer, the CEO of the Auckland Region and the organizer of the “ANZAC Swim for Canterbury”. He’d had a huge weekend, but found time to call and say, “Sorry about the mix up with your swimmers.” I tell you what – you’d wait a bloody long time to get a call like that from Swimming New Zealand. And, you see, that’s why the Regions matter. They are run by decent and good people; people who think that helping Canterbury is important.

Sam Mayhew Photography has excellent photo sets from the event, the dinner and the workshops, on his Facebook page.

Will Soon Be Made Available

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

By David

Swimwatch readers may recall our decision to file an Official Information request for the Sweetenham Report. Well, Swimming New Zealand has replied. Through SPARC they have declined our request. Their excuse is that they plan to publish the Sweetenham Report on the Swimming New Zealand website in the near future. Or in their words, “will soon be made available on Swimming New Zealand’s website”. The Official Information Act allows requests for information to be declined if the information requested is about to be made public.

The letter from SPARC’s CEO, Peter Miskimmin, advising us of Swimming New Zealand’s decision is reproduced here.

So do we believe Swimming New Zealand? It’s not as though they haven’t lied to their members and others before. Spinning the truth is a skill they have perfected and polished. Just look at the adulation they heaped on swimming’s eighth worst Commonwealth Games’ performance in New Delhi. SPARC clearly didn’t believe that string of misinformation and ordered an investigation into whether Cameron was up to her job. Swimming New Zealand is also the organization that was ordered to obtain the approval of the Regions before progressing Project Vanguard. In a move representative of President Nixon at his worst they altered the Annual General Meeting minutes. We have New Zealand’s best sport’s lawyers looking into that piece of dishonesty.

On and on it goes. To be really fair you wouldn’t want to bet the house that Swimming New Zealand will do anything they promise. So here at Swimwatch we have placed a clock on the website that will count the time it takes Swimming New Zealand to put the Sweetenham Report on their website. Let’s find out what the Coulter gang mean by “soon be made available.”

We know they’ve already had the Sweetenham Report for over three years. Clearly there hasn’t been much urgency to inform the membership of its contents. Now, it seems, disclosure of the Report has become a priority – or at least that’s what they have told the SPARC CEO. In a couple of days, wouldn’t it be good if we could all celebrate Swimming New Zealand’s punctuality in publishing the Report? Or will we? The Swimwatch clock will reveal all.

And the good news this week is…

I have just received the following email from Hayley Palmer telling us about the “ANZAC Swim for Canterbury” event. See what you can do to help. It’s a really good cause.

“You may already know about the ANZAC Swim for Canterbury event this coming weekend.

Having Libby Trickett, Leisel Jones, Brenton Rickard and Jessicah Schipper here to swim is something that I never thought I would see. More importantly, it is a great opportunity to give back to Canterbury. The graciousness of our Australian friends in helping us in this endeavour is quite humbling.
I would really appreciate if you are able to circulate to all club members the following information for bookings and ticketing. This can also be found on the website:


Tickets for the hospitality evening can be purchased through the website as single tickets, Tables of 10, Tables of 8, or a “Table with a Champion”. We will be accompanied by our Australian guests and Kiwi stars such as Danyon Loader, Moss Burmester, and Sophie Pascoe. The evening will include dinner, panel discussions and an “auction” of the stars into our 8 Premier League teams swimming in the Saturday main event. It would be great to see your club or region purchase a table and perhaps hosting one of the visiting stars.


There are Master Clinics on Saturday morning and afternoon. The morning clinics at West Wave are already booked, but there are plenty of places for the afternoon sessions at the Diocesan Pool and the newly re-opened Jellicoe Park Pool in Onehunga. Some of the Australian guests will also be taking clinics early Saturday morning at the Ocean Swim “King of the Bays”. Details and times are on the website.


We will double the seating capacity at West Wave, so there will be plenty of tickets for the Curtain-Raiser (16 Junior teams) at 5.30pm followed by the Main Event (8 Premier League teams) at 7.00pm. While the programme is based on the ASL Premier League format, there will also be a few entertaining moments. Each team will “carry” a non-swimming sports code 4 x 25m relay team. Expect to see Ian Jones and other former All Blacks, a team from Rowing NZ, Black Caps, Black Sticks, a team of Olympic yachtsmen, and a sports media team. The seating is designated as Gold, Silver, and Bronze. You will need to get there early to secure the better areas. There are discounts in each of these price bands for school-age children as well as family tickets.

Running an event of this magnitude there are significant costs. With the generous support of the Auckland Council, ASB Community Trust, Swim T3, CLM (Community Leisure Management), Bartercard, Speedo, Spencer-on-Byron, RealDesign, Absolute Insurance, ASL, we are in a position where the majority of the overheads have been accounted for.


Many of the Australian visitors will arrive on Friday 15th. I would be grateful to hear from anyone willing to act as ‘hosts’. Essentially that would involve pickup from the airport delivery to and from their accommodation at the Spencer-on-Byron in Takapuna, providing transport between the various events, and finally delivering your guest back to the airport, which for most will be on Sunday 17th. If there are any who are happy to help in this regard, please contact Hayley at:

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Hayley Palmer