Please Explain

By David

The Swimwatch blog was never intended to be a vehicle for pushing the author’s personal agenda. Ten years ago the first couple of stories were personal and addressed an issue I was having with the Napier City Council. But all that had a pretty short shelf life and we transformed the blog into a discussion on swimming in general and swimming administration in particular; subjects of much more interest than the life and times of David Wright.

However on this occasion I would like to address a personal event that did occur this week.

One of our swimmers recently attended a Swimming New Zealand coaching course. She passed the class work section of the qualification and was left to complete the practical poolside coaching hours. This she did working under my supervision coaching swimmers attending the 2015 Auckland Junior League. All that was needed was my signature confirming she had done the hours – and, as an aside, had done them very well indeed.

But wait, all was not what it seemed; enter Swimming New Zealand in the form of Donna Bouzaid. “David Wright” she said,” cannot sign off the coaching hours. He only has an American coaching qualification. We need to have the signature of a coach with a New Zealand qualification. Find someone else.”

Now there are several things really stupid about that demand; things that I believe reflect poorly on the integrity of author.

  1. The form is going to end up being signed by some NZ Bronze level coach who has no knowledge of nor took any part of supervising the student’s coaching hours. Well done Donna.
  2. My American Swim Coaches Association International Level 5 qualification is certainly the best known and probably the most respected coaching qualification in the world. This is what the ASCA website says about its five level certification process.

“The 5 Levels of the ASCA Certification Program each have its own required school. The purpose of these schools is to provide State-of-the Art fundamental information on coaching to the appropriate level of coaches. Since 1985, this 5-level progression of courses has been the world standard for coaching education, used in more than 18 nations around the globe.”

Well done Donna

  1. It beats me why signing off this form should all of a sudden become so important. I signed off exactly the same form two years ago for another one of our coaches without Donna’s interference. Well done Donna
  2. While I was writing this story I discussed it with a friend who then sent me the following email.

“That is disgusting. SNZ accept on a regular basis the signature of any Director or Owner of LTS programs across the country as a proof that Swim Instructors have put in their hours of  teaching be it poolside, in the pool or just shadowing other Instructors. This is clearly aimed at you personally.”

Well done Donna.

  1. I may well have missed it but in the “Education” section of the SNZ website I can find no reference to the signing supervisor requiring a specific New Zealand qualification. I’m prepared to be proven wrong but in the meantime – well done Donna.
  2. And finally the list of signing authorities who have no formal SNZ qualifications make Donna’s demands look ridiculous. For example:
  1. David Lyles has been the National Coach and has signed off all sorts of stuff with no NZ qualifications.
  2. Mark Regan has been the National Coach and has signed off all sorts of stuff with no NZ qualifications.
  3. Louis Villanueva has been the National Coach of sorts and has signed off all sorts of stuff with no NZ qualifications.
  4. Bill Sweetenham has been the acting National Coach and has signed off all sorts of stuff with no NZ qualifications.

It may be time for Donna to get onto her superiors about this clear neglect of her rules – well done Donna.


In the meantime the form will be signed. But in the process Swimming New Zealand will have lost just an inch more integrity; an inch more relevance.