Report By Dave Crampton
Swimming New Zealand has disestablished two key positions after losing 30 percent of its high performance funding from April 2017, primarily due to its results at the Rio Olympics, where none of its swimmers made finals.
The New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Association said the removal of both positions is “unjustified and highly detrimental” to the sport.
The federation’s high performance coaching director, Donna Bouzaid, and its high performance athlete development coach, Gary Hurring, will have their positions disestablished from May 6 due to the funding cuts, it was announced on Thursday. Hurring was Swimming NZ’s head coach at both the Rio Olympics and the Kazan World championships.
However, the federation’s head coach, Jerry Olszewski, who commenced in September after being hired from the United States, has kept his job for now, despite his job description stating that his contract is subject to the outcome of the review with High Performance Sport New Zealand, which allocates high performance sports funding.
Swimming New Zealand, which has no formal key sponsor, lost $400,000 of its $1.2m high performance funding – more than it expected, according to Swimming NZ board chair Bruce Cotterill.
“We did not expect the cut to be so severe and we have spent several weeks following the decision trying to persuade HPSNZ to lessen the severity of the cut and attempting to educate it on the likely impact that a funding cut of this nature would have on our HP programme. Unfortunately, we were not successful in this bid,” Cottreill said in a letter to regional board chairs on Thursday,
“This decision has not been taken lightly but has been forced upon us by the size of HPSNZ’s funding cut.”
In a statement, the New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Association said that the removal was “two of the most important positions that Swimming NZ has” and is highly detrimental to the development of the sport. It called for a sustainable, financially viable, easily executed plan, with vision for the future. It also acknowledged the he contribution both have made to the sport
“The Board wants to acknowledge the huge contribution that both Donna and Gary have made to these roles. Both the Board and the NZSCTA membership would like to offer our unequivocal support to them both during this difficult time,” board representative David Prattley wrote.
Swimming New Zealand chief executive Steve Johns is currently working through the transition to the new structure and will communicate how the roles and responsibilities of both Bouzaid and Hurring will be facilitated.