Teach Yourself Jan Cameron 101

By David

For years Swimwatch has been discussing the disaster that is the Cameron era. A month ago the Ineson Report confirmed most of our concerns. To say, “We told you so,” would be extremely bad mannered. Between the time we began reporting her shortcomings and Ineson telling New Zealand we were right, millions of dollars have been thrown in Cameron’s direction. Millions of dollars have been wasted. We have won nothing – no Danyon Loader, no Antony Moss and no Paul Kingsman, nothing.

A month has gone by since the Ineson Report was published and nothing has changed. Swimming New Zealand created a committee – big deal. In every other way Swimming New Zealand are acting as though Ineson never existed. They are treating SPARC with contempt. Cameron and Byrne are still there; still making decisions. Coulter is still President, when any decent human being would have acknowledged his or her failure and resigned. But then Coulter’s behavior is not the product of a decent human being.
And now they have reverted to type and have attacked. While the New Zealand swim team leaves for the World Championships without their uniforms, while the Regions plan ways to take back their sport, Cameron, Coulter and Byrne plot ways to get even with David Wright and Rhi Jeffrey. But that has always been their way; especially Cameron.

Whenever she has been crossed or things have not gone her way, she knows only one response – attack and destroy. A generation of swimmers and parents has experienced the Cameron wrath. One parent called the Deaker radio show and complained about Cameron’s behavior. That was the end of one of New Zealand’s best backstroke swimmers. The current President of the Bay of Plenty Center has always spoken out strongly about the Cameron ways. One wonders whether her son’s selection problems have been the price paid for her honesty.

Cameron has always ignored Swimwatch. I guess my controversial past has offered her that option. But now that our readership has reached 1000 per day and includes a regular from FINA HQ in Lucerne, we can be ignored no longer. And so last week Swimwatch was attacked. Swimming New Zealand published proposed rule changes that included two new rules that were reported to me as the Wright and Jeffrey rules.

The Wright Rule says that no coaches can be on the pool deck during a Swimming New Zealand meet, coaching their team, unless they are members of Swimming New Zealand. Swimming New Zealand know that I have not joined the organization. They also know the reason I stay on the outside is because they have a punitive rule that says no one can criticize Swimming New Zealand. With the best will in the world I imagine Swimming New Zealand would view Swimwatch as a breach of that rule. Faced with a choice between freedom of speech and Swimming New Zealand membership, I chose freedom of speech.

Cameron, of course, recognized the Achilles heel. Force me to join Swimming New Zealand and I could no longer write for Swimwatch. If I did write, I would face suspension and disgrace. Alternatively I could refuse to join Swimming New Zealand and would be banished to the bleachers. It was classic Cameron. Instead of fixing her own performance problems there she was on the attack; trying to destroy another life. What would I do?

I could join Swimming New Zealand and ask my daughter Jane (who is no longer a registered swimmer) to write Swimwatch stories for me. Swimming New Zealand would regret that option. Jane is a far better wordsmith than her father. My criticism would be Mary Poppins in comparison. I could run the risk; join Swimming New Zealand and face their wrath. After all freedom of speech, restriction of trade and compulsory unionism are pretty well established laws on which to mount a legal defense. Compelling Swimming New Zealand to spend a few thousand on another waste of time might be fun. But the option I like best is to continue writing for Swimwatch and sit in the stands with my two way communication head set talking to Assistant Coach Kimberly on the pool deck. After all the New Zealand All Black coach does that all the time. The view would be better. The communication just as good. I could set a new trend in worldwide swim coaching. Even Scot Talbot might join me in the stands.

The second rule, the Jeffrey Rule, is another classic from the Cameron case book. It says that every swimmer who is a member of a foreign federation can no longer swim for a Swimming New Zealand club in domestic competitions. He or she could only be accepted as a visitor. This is clearly aimed at preventing Rhi Jeffrey from swimming for West Auckland Aquatics. The really funny thing though is that Rhi is not currently a member of US Swimming. Cameron took aim at Rhi, the Olympic Champion, the swimmer with the pink hair and strong opinions – and, would you believe it – she missed. So, Rhi will be swimming for West Auckland Aquatics at the next Winter Nationals. And there’s not a damn thing Cameron can do about it; try as she might.

However she may well have scored a bull’s eye on the likes of Hayley Palmer, Lauren Boyle, Michael Jack, Michael Mincham, and Cara Baker. They all have or are training outside New Zealand and have probably joined the Australian or American swimming federations. It will be fun to see if Swimming New Zealand insist they all swim as foreign visitors. Any New Zealand record that Lauren Boyle sets from now on will be suspect until her membership of US Swimming expires.

The important point of all this is fiddling while Rome burns. There goes Coulter, Byrne and Cameron, up to their arses in SPARC reports, lost uniforms, excessive spending and poor swimming results; spending their days plotting how to get even with a swimming coach and American swimmer from West Auckland Aquatics. They really are a most pathetic bunch. Oh, and before I forget, every effort should be made by New Zealand’s swimming regions to kill off these ridiculous and personal rules. They are not worthy of a national sporting organization.

  • Seriously? They want to prevent people registered with foreign teams from competing for New Zealand clubs? What is their public reason for this? If every country adopted this rule, virtually every person who goes to university to swim in America would be without a team on their return home. This would mean that Olympians had no club to compete for at their national championships, since many top non-American NCAA swimmers (like Lauren) are also their nation’s Olympic representatives.

    I would just like to hear what the explanation is. Can you imagine Simon Burnett returning to the UK from Arizona for the Olympic trials and not being able to swim for Windsor.

    Gemma Spofforth coming back from Florida and being unable to compete for Portsmouth Northsea.

    Of course, it sounds more sensible to require coaches on deck to be members. On its own, I don’t see a problem with that. However, including a ruling that no criticism must be levelled at the organisation from members can’t be legal.

    The only Poli Sci / law classes I ever took were in the US where these things are pretty well protected, but it’s not tough to find out if freedom of expression is held in high regard in New Zealand law as well: http://www.hrc.co.nz/report/chapters/chapter08/expression01.html

    Good luck with that, guys,

  • Curious and Curioser

    So David, let me see if I get his right – in the fantasy land that is SNZ nobody is allowed to express a contrary opinion because that could be considered to be criticism?

    So a member could state a fact such as ‘the Ineson report stated that there has been a failure at three critical organisational levels – Chair of SNZ’s Board (governance); the CEO (operational) and the GM Performance and Pathways (HP), [and that] the dysfunctional environment at the HP Centre has been festering for some time, it was public knowledge and little or nothing had been done to rectify it” and that would be OK because it is a fact, or could they be subject to disciplinary action because to repeat such a statement could be seen as being critical of SNZ? Which brand of totalitarianism is this? Fascism? Stalinism? Or is this some special brand to be called NZ Swimism?

    Absolutely disgusting. I think I will be seeing you in the spectator seats next year and you had better book another channel on that two way radio of yours!

    Tell me, what happens to Mark Regan – is he a member of SNZ, if so which club did he join? What about last year when Teri McEveer came to NZ to assist Lauren Boyle, are they going to insist that she sign on as member of SNZ as well, otherwise she cannot come on pool deck? What about if Cara Baker and Dylan Dunlop-Barrat bring Denis Cotterill over from Australia to assist in their Olympic quests at next years Olympic trials – is he going to be refused access to pool deck? What about if he brings a group of his club swimmers over to strengthen up the competition at Olympic Trials – will he and the team manger be refused a pool pass because they are not members of SNZ?

    What a preposterous state of affairs, and all because they cannot stand David Wright because he is out there holding SNZ to account. What a pathetic bunch of losers.

    Ah well, I guess that last comment will qualify me for a seat with you in the naughty corner as well.

  • @ Curiouser: You make a very good point about foreign coaches and pool deck access. If they claim the membership rule to be a liability issue, they could easily have all people who require pool deck access sign a waiver or acknowledgment of some sort, agreeing to adhere to on-deck behaviour standards, or whatever they feel they need during the meet.

    I’d like to see them banish non-member Kiwi coaches and then allow non-member foreign coaches on deck. I’m pretty sure that discriminating who’s allowed on deck based on nationality isn’t going to be legal either.

  • Curious and Curioser

    Jane, I am sure that these schmucks will argue that it is a private event and they are entitled to let whoever they choose onto pool deck and that bigger laws (like employment/restraint of trade, compulsory unionism, discrimination, Bill of Rights) do not apply to them because this is a private event. You just know though that this rule if it is allowed to pass will not be applied equally and that there will only ever be one person affected by it – this is just a device to get at David. That argument is reminiscent of all totalitarian regimes – might is right, and the ends justify the means!

    Your suggestion of a temporary agreement to cover the period of the meet is a good one and of course it is the same approach used by overseas (read, more mature and rational) federations. Probably too simple and clever for these people. Lets not ever forget what Ineson said about this crowd:

    “…there has been a failure at three critical organisational levels – Chair of SNZ’s Board (governance); the CEO (operational) and the GM Performance and Pathways (HP), [and that] the dysfunctional environment at the HP Centre has been festering for some time, it was public knowledge and little or nothing had been done to rectify it”.

    Of course the underlying message of Ineson is that there is not much going on in either the brain or integrity departments at SNZ and you just simply cannot educate pork! Rather than face their own failures it is easier for SNZ to blame someone else and to eliminate them from their world which they hope in turn will shift attention away from the mess in their own back yard. That has always been the escape for little people who hold positions of power.

  • Chris

    Oh for goodness sake … why the hell is that woman still in there interfering?

    This has nothing other than the fingerprints of our very own Swimming New Zealand General Manager of Performance and Pathways all over it. You know, the usual scenario of some ham-fisted response in order to strengthen a personal interest. But unfortunately for many of the poor naive SNZ employees that get tasked with implementing her stupid policies, most have neither the experience or background in the sport to realise the implications of what she is doing, or the balls to say “no, we can’t do that” or “no, we won’t do that”.

    So the ridiculous swimmer rule would also have Amini Fonua unable to swim for United if he is down here, because he also swims in the US and represents Tonga; or Nic Ferrif who comes down for Trials and swims for NSS; or Georgia Wetzell from Roskill who I heard has joined the Samoan Federation to hopefully compete next year in London, and good on her.

    Besides, FINA allows membership in more than one federation, although in order to be eligible for international selection you have to nominate a single national federation and satisfy its criteria of citizenship/residency. But in doing so, you still do not have to relinquish membership in others.

    However, more intriguingly, I hear that the main reason this came about (BTW – isn’t it wonderful the amount of news that filters from poolside to the masses from week long swim meets) because of Jan’s own stuff-ups surrounding her selection policies at Trials in April because they were trying to find a way of knocking out one of Laser’s swimmers from the finals of the Mens 200Fr and 400Fr (Velimir Stjepanovic who isn’t resident but has NZ connections with Laser) because his times on the psyche sheets and in the heats had him top-ranked going into the finals of both events. It was pretty obvious before the Trials that the selection policy exceptions for the Worlds team that allowed FINA ‘B’ time qualification were written primarily for one of Scott’s swimmers – Matt Stanley. Nothing wrong in that, but the fact that not only Matt Stanley, but also Dylan Dunlop-Barrett eventually benefitted was in spite of the bad drafting, and not because of it. However, at Trials, in order to get through on a FINA ‘B’ time, a swimmer still had to WIN the Final. And that is where the panic set it in! Because ordinarily Matt Stanley would have been expected to waltz the 200Fr, especially with no Michael Jack or Andy McMillan there. But they didn’t count on a Serbian/Kiwi almost ruining the master plan. So there was apparently the very unseemly spectacle (not from the swimmer, I might add) of delegations from SNZ’s GMPP and the ‘raised platform’ attempting to pressure the technical officials into dumping Mr Stjepanovic from both finals on the basis that he was a ‘visitor’. But as all good officials go, the Meet Director was having none of it as the swimmer from Laser was a legitimate registered fully-paid up member of a SNZ club. In the end, they should have had more faith in both Dylan (400Fr) and Matt (200Fr) because they won their respective finals, and quite deservedly gained their ‘B’ times for a place on the Worlds team, and expect to see them in action next week.

    But why do I mention this? Because yet again, this is Cameron trying to make up rules as she goes, plugging up gaps in her own self-interests, resulting in years of bloody “cut and paste” regulations and policies, much of which makes no sense and has no clear consistent thought processes in evidence at all (just look at the succession of diabolical Open Water selection policies over the years). Surely if it was selection meets that she is getting her knickers in a twist about, then they should be doing what other federations the world over do, and that is at National Trials selection meets allowing only swimmers who are “eligible for selection to the national team” in the A Final, but granting, for example, two finals places for “non-eligible for selection” swimmers.

    Simple you would have thought, but it is SNZ we are talking about.

  • Doug

    Having played lacrosse and American football at West Point, I can tell you that compteting against the best athletes in any sport will raise the level of performance of everyone involved. Allowing internationally experienced athletes to compete in New Zealand swimming events will improve the times of New Zealand athletes. It is clear to me that the motives of the cited hierarchy are personal in nature and not in the best interests of the athletes. Ask the swimmers if they would like the opportunity to compete against a higher caliber of athlete. I know the answer. The Cameron bunch clearly does not.

  • James


    I was interested about your comment about not being able to criticise Swimming New Zealand. In fact so interested I went to their Code of Conduct and yes there it is in black and white….

    – To not speak to any media in a negative way regarding Swimming NZ Inc.
    – Never act in any way that may bring disrepute or disgrace to SNZ members, its stakeholders and/or its sponsors, potential sponsors and/or partners.

    but I read on and was interested to read in the Teacher/Coach section of the Code of Conduct the following

    – Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every individual athlete as a human being .
    – Treat everyone equally regardless of gender, disability, ethnic origin or religion.
    – Respect the talent, developmental stage and goals of each athlete in order to help each athlete reach their full potential
    – All athletes are deserving of equal attention and opportunities.
    – Ensure the athlete’s time spent with you is a positive experience.
    – Be fair, considerate and honest with athletes.

    Hmmm I think a few others should worry about the Code David – not just you!

    Keep up the good work

  • Paul Kent

    oh, Im not a member either, never have been. Hopefully I can afford a 2 way radio?

  • Paul Kent

    Oh, I’m not a member either, never have been. Hopefully I can afford a 2 way radio and I won’t be side line at SC nationals in 2 weeks with 7 swimmers from Oz and 17 of my own swimmers + an extra…
    I was going to shut my mouth but I am infuriated presently. I have just been informed that NZ Swimming just took a contract off a private learn to swim company so they could run it! This company pays to be a Quality swim school to SNZ and now SNZ is after contracts and going into direct competition with private swimming provides!!!! This has now cost the people involved 6 jobs!
    I have now noticed In the minutes on the SNZ website they QUOTE!

    “SNZ is the biggest learn to swim business in New Zealand.”

    http://www.swimmingnz.org.nz/uploads/files/2011_APR_Final.pdf to read the minutes,

    What on earth are they thinking?

    I might add that our national team named, The State Aqua Blacks….? State money does not got near the Aqua Blacks their $$ is solely for “KIWI SWIM SAFE” It would be great to have a sponsor like State on board helping our athletes, but as I am aware (and I have asked the question) the $1,000,000 Mike Byrne stated in the media SNZ gets from STATE breaks down like so
    $650,000 to Ocean Swim Series (a private business not related to SNZ…apart from Mike Byrne)

    $350,000 to Kiwi Swim Safe – Great to see

    $0 for all State own events such as 2011 State Open National Championships, State Junior Nationals etc

    $0 towards the State Aqua Blacks

    Mike Byrne, Murray Coulter what have you done and why are you still doing it after 6 weeks!!!!!?

  • Paul Kent

    PS…. if they are the biggest business LTS in NZ making PROFIT then surely they would give SPARC the bird and pay for pur athletes and coaches and run the sport as they saw fit? That would save them plenty of grief right now surely?

  • Chris

    Jane – hahaha

    Of course your quote above can only be rendered in a good solid southern accent, as in “Breaker, breaker 10-4”. That would be just PERFECT!!

  • Curious & Curioser


    Your quote:

    \Mike Byrne, Murray Coulter what have you done and why are you still doing it after 6 weeks!!!!!?\

    This is what Mike Byrne and Murray Coulter and all their gang have been doing:

    “…there has been a failure at three critical organisational levels – Chair of SNZ’s Board (governance); the CEO (operational) and the GM Performance and Pathways (HP), [and that] the dysfunctional environment at the HP Centre has been festering for some time, it was public knowledge and little or nothing had been done to rectify it”. (Ineson Report – June 2011)

    Says it all really – I will be seeing you in the bleechers too – put another order in for one of those two way radios!

  • Chris

    Ah, breaker, breaker, 1-9 this here is the rubber duck. You gotta copy on me, Big Ben, c’mon c’mon?
    Ah yeah, 10-4, Big Ben, for sure, for sure …
    Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy ….

  • Sensible Swimming

    Jane – ROFL –

    What about this from Phelps:

    “Hey Coach, I didn’t catch that … you say they’re on what down here? Electric P .. u .. h … a?”

  • Jo

    Or this one from Byrne

    “Get out of my way swimmers, I am the star here”

  • Chris



    “Hey coach, who’s the fat guy?”

  • michael

    Changing the subject have you seen the dribble that Philip Rush has conned us about the open water swimmers that they were fired up ready to go. Tui billboard there except for Cara in the 5k. Well he must be in the Jan camp .

  • Chris

    Did I miss something? Why didn’t Kane swim the 10km?

  • Tracy

    Come on Regions, get of your what I call asses and call a special general meeting and get rid of YOUR board. They are answerable to you not SPARC, move it or sit back and watch them destroy the careers of our wonderful kids who work so hard to get where they are. If what I have read on Swimwatch is true, then these people are a bunch of idiots whose only agenda is stroking their own egos. As for Jan Cameron looks like she has the boys by the short you know what’s, as for her title, what a load of baloney, if that’s not ego stroking I don’t know what is.

    If you haven’t done it already it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and fill up Mike Byrne’s inbox. Hammer that man till he cries, that’s if he has an emotional bone in his body.

    For our National Swimmers, hang in there, with any luck the Regions will grow some and fight for you guys.

    Know if you will excuse me I’m going to email Mr Mike Byrne.

  • Chris

    Hey Tracy (emailing Mike Byrne?)

    That’s a bloody waste of time – he can’t read!

  • Tracy

    I better ring him then.

  • Tracy

    Hold on, does he speak English or does he just speak crap.

  • Boxer

    No brainer. Of course he can’t read! If he could he would have resigned after reading the Ineson report. Either that or he’s got no integrity. Clearly both.
    He also can’t tell the time. After turning up at Div 2 as part of his latest PR exercise, he was supposed to timekeep and arrives LATE – no not just a little late, REALLY LATE after the session starts – not bad for the only paid timekeeper there! Cheeky b******

  • Sensible Swimming

    I can’t believe that – how hard is it to time keep (turning up on time is the first part of the test!) – is he qualified? Thinking of that – what are his qualifications to be CEO? Coulter said he was in charge of HP at Bike NZ – that was a lie! Coulter employed him – its time he ‘fessed up’ and told us all what is obvious to everyone – he is out of his depth! Come to think of it, so is Coulter – time for them both to go!

  • Chris


    Definitely crap!

  • Chris

    Good morning Jane! Just woken up have we? Hahaha. Surely you’ve got something better to do on a Saturday morning (actually afternoon now) than moderate this lot?

    So I reckon you and David need to set up rooms on this site because with just this thread we have the following subjects:

    1. The ‘David’ Rule (coaches/SNZ members?)
    2. The ‘Rhi’ Rule (multiple federation affiliation)
    3. NZ Bill of Rights
    4. SNZ Code of Conduct & Coaches’ Code of Conduct (criticising SNZ)
    5. Ineson Report
    6. Paul Kent’s membership? (that deserves a thread all on its own!! Haha)
    7. LTS and SNZ interference
    8. Sponsorship of Aqua Blacks by State (who give no money to them)
    9. Byrne & Coulter (what are you doing?)
    10. Open Water & Philip Rush’s dribble
    11. Regions – what are you doing?
    12. Byrne – what are his qualifications?

    Phew! Looking forward to David’s next post.

  • @Chris – Haha, not a bad idea. Installing a forum isn’t too hard!

    Sitting watching qualifying for the German Grand Prix and approving the floods of comments – you guys are on a roll! Luckily I can also approve them on the phone ;)

  • Boxer

    Chris you left out another topic:

    13. Koru the Kiwi. Is it really MIke Byrne?

    Jane, of course. I just figured out why you put the picture in. It was to give Mike Byrne something to look at because he can’t read. That was really thoughtful.

  • Sharon

    Boxer, Nope, Koru is too good looking.

  • Chris

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on a minute!

    Its just clicked where I have seen this bird before. Down country the LTS at a lot of the pools is Swim Magic and they have been using a bird symbol for YEARS. I think its a blue penguin. They have had it on their logo for as long as I can remember, and they apparently call it …. wait for it … KORI


    Oh for goodness sake! Is there not one original thought that comes out of that place? SNZ’s have only recently introduced their programme and mascot. It shouldn’t be KORU the Kiwi, it should be KORU the PLAGIASAURUS.

    So how can SNZ claim to be the biggest LTS school in the country when they don’t own or control any pools or poolspace? Duh! And why are they trying to do LTS in the first-place? Their prime responsibility is supposed to be governing the SPORT (or not, as the case may be) not trying to compete and steal business off many of its own clubs that have LTS schools.

    A very grubby look if you ask me.

  • Lee

    So has anyone emailed Byrne or Coulter? Do they have the professionalism to reply. He can obviously read but does he reply.

    I would love to see the draft copy of the Iveson report that went to Swimnz as I am sure it would have been toned down for general release, so what did it say?

    And a CEO being late to do his time recording stint (what was his excuse) is appalling.

    So regions call a special meeting!

  • Chris

    On a roll … Paul Kent, so in these minutes from SNZ above:

    “One hundred and twenty four SNZ clubs provide learn to swim opportunities and SNZ is the biggest learn to swim business in New Zealand”.

    Is Mike Byrne trying to suggest that because 124 clubs have Learn To Swim businesses, then IPSO FACTO, these private businesses are SNZ businesses in claiming that SNZ is the biggest LTS in NZ. Noooooo …… surely not?

  • Sharon

    Someone asked about his qualifications – here is what I found:

    Didn’t Murray Coulter say in one of the radio interviews that Byrne was in charge of the high performance at Bike New Zealand? His own profile says he was the Business Development Manager (read, salesman).

    So if he has tertiary qualifications, he is not proud of them or does not see them as being worthwhile enough to promote himself on Linkedin. His highest qualification seems to be high school.

  • Tracy

    Hi Lee

    I have emailed Mr Mike Byrne in the past when I was shocked to find out that Kane Radford wasn’t going to Shanghai. I don’t even know the kid but for my own child’s sake who loves open water swimming, I thought I would represent. Believe it or not he did reply, it was a whole lot of ‘it’s out of my hands’ which I replied what a load of bollocks and that I was really disappointed and ashamed of this SNZ’s decision. He didn’t reply to my second email, but at least I know he reads his own emails. So it was interesting to see Kane Radford go to Shanghai, not saying I had anything to do with it but really glad I sent that email.

    I will be sending Mr Byrne an email today and probably again tomorrow, got nothing else to do, it’s the school holidays! I will be mentioning the rule changes, taking the likes of David, Paul Kent and other coaches off the pool deck will be a huge disadvantage for their kids, this is not about personal grievances, this is about our kids, or is disadvantaging their swimmers part of your plan Jan!

    Pull your heads in SNZ!!!!!

  • Ex swim parent

    First of all, as the events start in the pool let me wish all the swimmers success and offer Hayley Palmer a swift recovery.

    As an ex-swimming parent I am very much watching the Ineson debate from the sidelines. However, having felt in a previous life the emotional effect on swimmers and parents from the divisive, dysfunctional, and dictatorial regime that has continued within New Zealand swimming for many many years I feel a continuing need to comment.

    There have been many posts in this thread talking about e-mailing various people at Swimming New Zealand and I feel that the only way that real results will be achieved is by parents, coaches, swimmers and other interested parties directly communicating their concerns to the members of the high-performance governance committee and SPARC.

    Clearly there is no point in communicating directly to those who, on reading the diluted Ineson report, should quite obviously have stepped down or at the very least stepped aside from their positions whilst this is quickly sorted.

    If I was a parent of a current swimmer and felt strongly about the complete lack of action. I would be writing this sort of e-mail

    “Dear Mr Butler

    I am writing to you today in your capacity as chair of the high-performance governance committee. As a parent of a swimmer who is currently affected by the dysfunctional and negative environment being created within New Zealand Swimming I would like to know when something will actually be done to rectify the major issues that have been highlighted by the Ineson report.

    New Zealand Swimming cannot continue in the way that it has been run over the last decade. Too many swimmers, and too many parents, have suffered emotionally and have not been able to perform to their best as a result of the negative environment that has been created. Too many coaches and too many team managers and helpers, who often give much of their time freely to New Zealand Swimming, have been allowed to fall by the poolside.

    It is time to take real action and your high-performance governance committee must do that quickly and effectively and communicate to the New Zealand Swimming community what is actually being done

    Yours in swimming

    A Concerned Parent”

  • David

    I’ve just arrived back from the Division 2 Nationals to read the comment stream. You guys are worth a million dollars. I was a bit tired until you lot brightened the day with speaker phone chatter and Byrne-isms. And as for Paul he’s welcome to share a seat in the stands any time. I think we’d look good in our matching radio headsets.

  • Curious & Curioser

    Like others, best wishes to all in Shanghai. It is because of these guys and what they do that we all follow your blog David. I will be staying up, probably like the rest of you and wishing Lauren and Glenn well tonight. Two fantastic swims this morning. Hopefully we are about to see both of them come of age.

    Interesting to me that both have been under the care of Mark Regan and he seems to have done a good job of seeing his swimmers through the “festering and dysfunctional HP environment” that Ineson describes.

    I hope that Mr Butler and his committee have assured Mark Regan that his services will be valued and appreciated through to London and that they have done everything they need to to secure his services for London. There is something comforting knowing that there is someone involved who has the inner confidence that comes from the “been there, done that” capacity. IMO this is one of the things which we have lacked in the NZL environment for many years. In all areas of life there is an inner conviction and confidence which comes from knowing that you have previously scaled high roads and therefore that you can do it all over again.

    I read recently some of the things which Petria Thomas had to say about Mark Regan the other day and they were all extremely complimentary. To me it is also significant that in the women’s relay team all three of his swimmers performed as well (or better in the case of Amaka and Penelope) than would otherwise have been expected, especially when they must have been really freaked by the news of Hayley’s sad and tragic withdrawal. We do hope she is going to be OK, but well done to Mark for his preparation and to the ladies for their big efforts.

    I want to comment also on Sharon’s link about Mike Byrne. This is amazing to me. Was the skills shortage in NZL so bad in 2007 that the sport could only find someone to be its CEO who apparently only has a high school graduation standard of education – no tertiary or undergraduate qualifications at all!

    I find this quite staggering and can only think it is no wonder that we have an organisation which feels so completely out of control and badly led. No wonder the decision making appears so badly disjointed and out of control. No wonder as Tracy says that Jan Cameron has the whole place by the short and curlys!

    I know that sport is not a well paid industry but there are some really good operators in the sector. People like Peter Miskimmin (SPARC), Marty Toomey (SPARC), Mike Stanley (MISH and NZOC) and Rob Nichol (NZ Rugby Players) to name but a few are rated as amongst New Zealand’s best operators. Was it too much to expect that swimming as a senior olympic sport should deserve leadership of that quality.

    Our board sold the sport short when they appointed Mike Byrne and they have sold it short again when they have refused to accept responsibility for their own failings which have placed us where we are today. Our athletes deserve better.

    It is a time for a change and when we do change lets make sure that we do not settle for anything but the best for our new leadership. To do anything less will be a betrayal to our athletes and our future.

  • Chris


    I am sitting in front of the TV, waiting for Day 1 Finals session, very excited, but fully intending to turn the volume down as soon as I hear the voice of SNZ General Manager of Performance and Pathways (of yes, I have no doubt that that voice will be gracing our airways).

    Gosh Lauren has been going from strength to strength. Not content on smashing the 400 & 800 records at Trials (and recently at Auckland short course Winters) but to do another 2 sec PB, at Worlds no less, stunning! Making the step up to be with the big girls, Lauren has arrived, clearly older, stronger, more experienced, and not intimidated by her competition. Her years away in the US is now reaping the dividends and I think there is much our community can learn about having our swimmers exposed to the “small fish in a big pond” environment. Clearly she is responding well to Mark Reagan, and in my view, that alone should have secured him as the Head Coach. She always tended to be inconsistent and even when she first left, it took a while for the benefits of the US to kick in. But she is testament to the virtue of patience in this sport and the fact that we can never right off our swimmers if they have an indifferent season or even indifferent few years. I have no doubt that our favourite GMPP probably wrote her off years ago as not capable of making the break-through. I wonder whether she will claim her?

    And Glen breaking through the 60secs. That is world class and there must be extreme confidence in his mind. He tends not to back up in the evening, so it will be interesting to see how he handles that, but he just needs to make the Final tomorrow, and at least secure a decent lane. But having broken that psychological barrier of 60 secs is extremely important for him. Got on him.

    Interesting that Mark Reagan’s swimmers are doing well from Day 1. Even the girls in the 4 x 100 relay swam well, even though they clearly were missing Hayley Palmer (what a bummer she is out – gosh she’s had a tough year). Mark’s swimmers were solid, and I think Penelope and Amaka both had PB relay splits, but poor young Sophia had an awful blowout session. Too bad – I hope they are patient and look after this young talent and not ruin her.

    So all in all. Very excited at the moment.

    Meanwhile, Ex Swim Parent – excellent post, and you are absolutely right.

  • Sharon

    To all you readers, especially in the US and Europe, I notice from Linkedin (see my comment and link above) that he is looking for career and consulting opportunities. Help us out. If you want a high school graduate who was the salesman for BikeNZ and who has led a “failed, dysfunctional and festering environment at SNZ” please offer him a job now, and do it quickly!!


  • Sharon

    Just watched Lauren and Glenn – love you guys!

  • Chris

    I eat my words, and am delighted to.

    Having been ready to turn the volume control down, what a pleasant surprise to listen to the British Sky commentary, and particularly Alison Sheppard’s Scottish brogue. Now there is a commentator who knows what she is talking about.

    Didn’t Lauren do well? How tough is it to have the world record holder Pelligrini on one side and Kylie Palmer on the other, then one lane down, Adlington, and the likes of Friis, Muffat, Hoff – blimey, what class. So to have smashed her PB in the morning by 2 secs, I guess it was a big ask to do that again in the Final, given that every one else around you have swum those times before. But what company? Well done.

    That’s tough for Glenn, especially knowing that his PB would have put him into the Final in a good spot. But what good experience for him, and sets him up well for London.

    If we are allowed to adopt some Aussie swimmers (what … did I just say that?), having watched those fabulous ambassadors at the ANZAC meet and seeing Schipper, Rickard and Guerhrer tonight, well done to them – Schipper and Rickard getting through to the finals, and Guehrer in the relay.

    So my highlights: Tae Hwan Park taking out the 400Fr from Lane 1, Pelligrini taking the 400Fr by a country mile (absolute class), Netherlands dominant 4 x 100 (the same quartet since 2008 and each one consistently ranked individually in the top 10 for 100Fr for years), and the Aussie 4 x 100 holding off the French from Lane 2 and arriving back on the sprint scene after an absence of some time – Magnussen doing a lead off on 47.49. And relegating the US (and Phelps) to a bronze. Never mind, they’ll be back.

  • chhill

    For those of you planning to email Mike, please remember to stick to monosyllabic, very short and simple words. Better still, maybe a space in between the letters and all in CAPITALS so he can sound them out….if that doesn’t work perhaps we need to move onto phoenetic spelling?

  • Jo

    A thought David, could you and your swimmers (and any others that want to join you) break away from SwimNZ and get your own funding directly from SPARC. Sort of the Ben Fouhy / Kayak NZ thing?

  • Sandra V

    Hi there
    I noticed some comments in this string about Lauren Boyle in the 400free at Worlds. See in today’s NZ Herald that her swim in the 200free was described as “disappointing”. Is that true?
    She would be 10th in the world on her heat time and number 12 on the standings from the race itself. That is not bad for someone they are describing as a distance swimmer.

  • Chris

    Oh dear … “disappointing” indeed. Those Herald articles, yes the ones that are “placed” by SNZ PR (as opposed to the Andrew Alderson articles that SNZ absolutely hate because he has rumbled them several times).

    Lauren has been doing a fantastic job, swimming out of her skin and definitely making a name for herself having “arrived” on the big stage, although she is known in the US through the NCAA. But her big breakthroughs this year have made people sit up, and especially here where maybe …. just maybe, there might be a genuine prospect for next year. I personally think that the 400m and 800m are better distances for her. The 200m is now a sprint event, just look at the splits that the top world class girls are doing. In the 200Fr final this evening, three of them went out in the first 100m on a 55 – WHAT THE ?????? While those three ultimately paid by dying in the last 50, the class of Pelligrini, Palmer, Muffat, Barratt, Heemskerk is just mind boggling. Add to that the likes of Adlington and Jackson!!

    No of course it wasn’t disappointing. Lauren was never in a month of Sundays going to be anywhere near those swimmers (not yet at least). She is swimming at a level she has never swum before, whereas all the others have consistently posted much faster times for several years. The confidence that comes with knowing that you have already “been there” cannot be underestimated.

    Another sobering thought – at the Worlds you can only enter a maximum of 2 swimmers in any event (provided they both meet the ‘A’ qualifying time). The ‘A’ time in the 200Fr was 1.59.2, but at Aussie Trials, they had all 8 in the final posting heat times of 1.57 and 1.56, and in the final they had two doing 1.55 (Palmer and Barratt) and the rest doing 1.56. So arguably, the womens 200Fr at Aussie Opens was just as competitive as Worlds. Can’t wait for their 4 x 200.

  • Chris

    A few more thoughts from the swimming (gosh its great to be able to watch AND listen to the commentary – thanks again David for rumbling SNZ over our favourite GMPP and her moonlighting).

    What can you say about Gareth? Isn’t he a confident young man, going out and … OMG … breaking Bell’s record, not once BUT 3 TIMES. Really looking forward to what he can do in the 200m. GO, GO, GO.

    But here is the thing. It is definitely making a difference having his coach, Gary Hurring there (which he mentions in one of the articles) and also acknowledges the support they have received having access to the sports science team from the Academy of Sport (which is normally attached to the High Performance Centre) since Delhi helping in the sports analysis, biomechanics etc, particularly as it relates (I am presuming) to his skills. Which begs the question –

    Why is it that a non-HP Centre swimmer has to win a Commonwealth medal, for goodness sake, before they are given access to the type of support enjoyed by HP Centre swimmers on a daily basis? Particularly when you know that the majority of HP Centre swimmers are ranked considerably lower than Gareth.