Experienced American coach Jerry Olszewski will take over as Swimming New Zealand’s head coach after the Rio Olympics.
He replaces Clive Power, who has been acting head coach since high performance director Luis Villanueva resigned in April last year after two years in the job.
Gary Hurring, however, will be head coach of the New Zealand team at Rio de Janeiro, as he was at the World Championships in Kazan.
Olszewski, chief executive of the Arizona Gold Swimming organisation he founded, headed off 30 applications. He has coached at the top club level in the US for more than 25 years, developing young swimmers to Olympics and national teams.
He said he was “excited” to start the job and move to New Zealand in September.
“It’s a real honour but I am under no illusions that it is a significant challenge. Swimming New Zealand has been going through a bit of a rough patch, and one of my skill sets is rebuilding programmes and getting people involved in the programme motivated…. to make an impact on global swimming.
“I want to set the expectation of what the group brings to each individual and what each individual brings to the group,. I will be setting expectations and not settling for anything less than their best.”
Olszewski has focussed primarily on the development of swimmers through to college level, and has been responsible for identifying and developing a significant number of swimmers to Olympic Trials, US and other national teams and to Olympic medals.
There were five swimmers from his club in the recent US Olympic Trials, one on the American team and two others on foreign national teams.
Outgoing Swimming New Zealand Chief Excecutive Christian Redford said Olszewski’s credentials are an ideal fit for the needs of for high performance swimming in New Zealand, “Jerry has significant success creating and building programmes, and implementing a performance culture where they have prospered to international level.
“He also has a great understanding of the high performance environment needed to make this happen, and is hugely passionate about swimming and nurturing young people to reach their full potential.”
With five potential 2020 Olympic swimmers qualified for the current team to Rio and some world-leading junior swimmers coming through the ranks, Renford says the new high performance leadership team is well placed to move the sport forward.
Olszewski’s enthusiasm and passion for swimming began as a child when he swam for Jon Urbanchek at the club level. With his success in the 200 Breast and the 400 IM, he secured a college scholarship to the University of Nebraska. He and his wife Shelly have four sons, including twins.
Courtesy Dave Crampton