Know Your Enemy

By David

It is a well-known phrase but where did it come from? New Zealand’s new National Coach, David Lyles, spent several years coaching in China so he should know the source of this quote. Its author was Sun Tzu a Chinese general, military strategist, and author of “The Art of War”, an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu’s advice is valuable not only in the event of armed conflict. For life in general “know your enemy” is not a bad place to start.

And so, in New Zealand swimming, who is the enemy? Well, the enemy has names. The enemy is a coterie of five. Their names are Miskimmin, Layton, Renford, Vilanueva and Lyles. In my opinion, they are the enemy.

Of course I can hear your protests. How can anyone portray these five as the enemy? Surely this is the group charged with reviving a sick and ailing sport. These are the sport’s care givers. How can they possibly be branded as the enemy?

Well, here is a list of the behavior that, I think, merits using the label of enemy.

  1. Their primary purpose is to cultivate and nurture the Government’s swim school at the Millennium Institute. In the pursuit of that purpose the enemy recruits swimmers from club teams throughout New Zealand. The effect of that has and still is castrating the coaching resources of the sport. Every time a swimmer leaves his or her home coach and joins the enemy how do you imagine the coach’s self-worth is affected? Of course club coaches are going to be hurt. The enemy’s message is written clear for New Zealand to read – New Zealand best swimmers and best coaches are at the Millennium Institute. That’s where the best coaches live. That’s where the best swimmers should train.

    We all know of coaches in Hamilton, Rotorua, Christchurch, Hastings, Carterton and Auckland who have been beaten up by the sport’s parent body. And in my view, that makes them the enemy.

    Only a committed enemy would inflict coaching genocide on the swimming resources of New Zealand. But that is what has happened. From the time Jan Cameron came up with the Millennium idea and pursued by the enemy of five to this day; different people, same policy, same wanton destruction.

    And the really strange fact is that the enemy’s philosophy is founded on a lie. Surely the people involved in New Zealand swimming have not forgotten the days before the Millennium Institute; days when club coaches like Laing helped Loader (Olympic Gold), Naylor coached Simcic (World Record), Hurring coached Hurring (Commonwealth Gold), Golsch coached Langrell (Olympic Fourth), Wright helped Jeffs (World SC medalist), Anderson coached Steel (UCLA Club Captain) and Brown guided Moss and Kingsman (both Olympic medalists), – the list is stellar and huge. Only an enemy would wreck that successful club coaching structure but that is what the enemy has done.

  2. The New Zealand Championships begin tomorrow. This evening I was down at the West Wave Pool taking the swimmers from West Auckland Aquatics through their final preparation. I notice that the Millennium swimmers are no longer sitting on an elevated platform beside the meet control room. Jan Cameron would not approve but it is progress. At this meet the  Millennium swimmers have pink plastic chairs like the rest of us. However the enemy could not resist one last dig, one final insult. Behind the Millennium swimmer’s pink chairs the enemy has hung a sign that says “New Zealand’s Elite High Performance Swimmers”. The rest of us are second class; certainly not elite high performance it seems. A dozen National Champions who swim for their club or their US University are debased and insulted by that sign posted by the enemy.

    The enemy is doing it all the time. Remember when we highlighted the news item on Swimming New Zealand’s website that announced that New Zealand’s elite swimmers were in Arizona at an altitude training camp. The word “all” may not have been used. It was certainly implied. Elite, it seems, is a word reserved for Millennium swimmers. The rest of us certainly do not merit that level of greatness. Only an enemy would inflict that level of hurt on swimmers who remained loyal to their home program.

There is little doubt – the leaders of Swimming New Zealand are the enemy. The Millennium concept is an obsession that begins at Miskimmin and progresses through his four hired hands. They remind me of politicians and Generals in the United States who happily excuse a few dozen Pakistani children being murdered in a drone attack as unfortunate “collateral damage”. So infatuated are the five enemy insurgents with promoting the Millennium Institute, with proving their state centralized swim school is best, with their altitude camps and Mazda SUV’s that I doubt they even consider the damage they cause. And I suspect that even if the hurt did occur to them it too would be seen as unfortunate “collateral damage” on the ignorant not up to speed with their imperious mission.

Tonight I became a member of the New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Association. Thanks to Neville Sutton I got my Memberships card number 462. The card tells me I have the American Swim Coaches Association Level 5 qualification and have completed a 2013 police check. All it seems is in order. Except I have one concern. The Swimming New Zealand Code of Conduct prohibits members from criticizing the organization. Well, I’m a member now. Is identifying five Swimming New Zealand insurgents as the enemy criticizing the organization? It may be. However in my view, given the damage to my sport that Miskimmin’s policies have wrought, it is a description that is well earned.

It will be interesting to see how the week of Commonwealth Games Trials swimming goes. By now most readers will realize I am committed to the success of any club or university coached swimmer. I find it hard to be as enthusiastic about those who swim for the enemy.

  • Urswimmerswudleaveiftheycould

    David your arguments are pretty flawed. You can’t compare the Millennium’s results to those of the last 50 years mate, that’s not fair. It was started in 2011 – give it some damn time you bigoted old fart. And it’s the swimmer’s choice to leave their clubs. They aren’t being blackmailed or recruited by David Lyles as you seem to think. They come to him okay, get it through your skull. Why don’t you turn some of this hateful worthless criticism into suggestions as to how they can do it better? You sound like a broken record. Also don’t call me out for being aggressive or being mean to you, as you get what you give.

    Why did I even write this, you’re obviously delusional and don’t respect anyone else’s ideas.

    I realize this comment above sounds somewhat hypocritical, but your arguments are pretty stupid.

    Have fun writing a new article in response to this Mr Toomuchtimeonhishands :)