I began a previous Swimwatch post by saying, “There does not seem to be anything of interest rocking New Zealand swimming at present.” I did not expect an email telling me, “Oh come on.  There has to be a story in AK Swimming not being a competitive region.”

I decided to investigate. Sure enough my email correspondent was right. He said there were effectively no competitive swim meets in 2022 until the 19 March. He also said the reason was that the “coaches group supposedly wanted a complete cycle of training after the covid break, before racing.”  

Could that possibly be true? Sure enough 18 towns and cities will have swim meets before Auckland decides it is time to swim a swimming race. To be fair there is an Auckland junior festival listed as a possible meet and an Auckland secondary schools open water race in that time. But for regular senior pool swimmers it’s a matter of wait until mid-March or spend a fortune traveling the country.

Among the 18 towns with swim meets Christchurch is listed with 4 meets of their own. Hamilton and Wellington have 3 meets each. Dunedin, Invercargill and Rotorua have 2 meets each. They all clearly do not subscribe to Auckland’s requirement that we should, “complete a cycle of training after the covid break, before racing.” Even Bluff has a meet. Well done Auckland (population 1,657,000) – behind Bluff (population 1,797). Oh, and I missed Akaroa (population 624, that’s 300 people less than the Auckland suburb of Piha) who also have meet before Auckland.  

There are two thoughts about this ridiculous example of administration. First, it is not the “Auckland Coaching Group’s” job or responsibility to decide when swimmers should race. Perfectly good people, called coaches, like Andy, Igor, Paul, Sheldon, Horst, Phillip and me can decide for ourselves when swimmers should race. Many coaches may follow an acceptable plan of racing to full fitness. Many records have been broken after intense periods of racing. We certainly do not need some bureaucratic committee telling us how swimmers should be prepared. The Coaches Group should put on the meets and let us decide who will swim.

Even if the Coaches Group includes coaches they have no business telling other coaches when their swimmers should race.  

For too long in the past administrators have exceeded their powers. I must have been told hundreds of times that my distance conditioning programme was not the modern way. My reaction was always the same. “It is none of your business”. The same goes for making it impossible to race at home. “It is none of your business”. Put on the meets and we will decide whether to use them or not. If a full-on programme of racing is your thing, move to Canterbury. Auckland is not the place for you.

Second, I am concerned that motivation for the decision might be shear bloody old-fashioned laziness. Far be it from any of us to interrupt administrator’s two months soaking up the rays on Waiheke or the Coromandel. Don’t disrupt their daily cruise around Auckland Harbour or their lunch at Ahi Restaurant on the Auckland waterfront. Far better to make up a pathetic excuse and laze-about for ten weeks convinced they have done swimmers in Auckland a huge service. Did you really think ten weeks of no races was in the best interests of the sport, or were you just too lazy to do the right thing?

One feature I have found is true in sport. Athletes have to work hard. Coaches have to work hard. Administrators have to work hard. It is a hard team game. This racing example is not good. From what I can see swimmers have got back into training after the lockdown. Coaches are also pulling their weight. But Auckland’s administrators are sitting around doing bugger-all. That is especially galling when in some cases we are paying their wages. Come on you guys – get off your bums and do some work.  

PS – Brett and company must be enjoying the Auckland summer. We have just been told the one pool junior meet planned for Auckland has been postponed. They have used the new COVID variant as their excuse. Now there really are no pool meets. However, during Brett and the Coaches Group’s busy schedule I can recommend Ahi’s oysters and the Prophet’s Rock Riesling from Central Otago. They won’t be able to drink their Riesling down there. They are too busy running a local swim meet. Whether Ahi do takeaways to your meetings held on Bret’s boat, I don’t know.

What has swimming become?

0 responses. Leave a Reply

  1. Swimwatch


    Be the first to leave a comment!

Comments are closed.