Swimming New Zealand Asks Athletes If They Would Attend Trials At A Time Of Coronavirus Crunch

Ali-Galyer
Ali Galyer of New Zealand - Photo Courtesy: Simon Watts/www.bwmedia.co.nz

By Dave Crampton

Swimming New Zealand is aiming to hold time trials for the Tokyo Olympics for a long list athletes on March 31 despite the New Zealand Government urging New Zealanders to limit non-essential domestic travel. The federation has asked athletes to tell it whether they would attend if the event is on.

The time trials are intended to be held at the Millennium pool in Auckland, one of the few pools that are open in metropolitan areas, after most city councils closed its pools and libraries during the weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Zealand Government has initiated a four-level threat system, with four being the most severe. New Zealand is at level two, meaning entry to border areas are maximised, travel is limited, and there are restrictions on mass gatherings – currently limited to 100 indoors and 500 outdoors. Everyone over the age of 70 – except the deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (74) – is urged to stay at home.

Level three would mean mass gatherings are cancelled, and all public venues closed. Level four would mean all people are advised to stay at home.

Yet Swimming New Zealand has written to a long list of athletes asking them if the trials are held, would they attend, instead of making a decision itself as to whether to continue holding them or not.

The federation e-mail notes:

“We would like to know, as a participant in the event, if it was to go ahead would you still be attending given your own circumstances of travel, accommodation etc and todays alert level and advice? Please bare (sic) in mind that the Alert Level and government advice as has happened this week, may progress rapidly over the next 24 to 48 hours.

“I applaud the efforts of all of you to get yourselves on to the blocks at the end of this month.”

Swimming World reached out to Swimming New Zealand’s communications coordinator Lucy Mills after the government’s announcement. Upon learning that it was Swimming World on the phone, she groaned and abruptly hung up.

Swimming World editor-in-chief Craig Lord noted: “I hope that was a technical failing on the line – and that they’ll be calling back very soon. Otherwise it would be a case of unbelievable stupidity at a time when transparency and clear communication are paramount. Everyone understands that this is a rapidly changing environment and decisions taken one day may be overtaken the next. In that environment, ‘leaders’ are going to have their ‘leadership’ skills tested and one of the biggest failings would be an inability to just tell the truth, including ‘we just don’t know at the moment, we are seeking advice about whether to reduce the size of the events’ and so on.”

“Silence is anything but golden at this time.”

Other Swimming New Zealand staff did not return messages.

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9 comments

  1. Bianca Leobaldo

    An absurd. They should simple make a decision to not go ahead on behalf of the athletes.
    A lot of federations already canceled theirs!!!

  2. avatar
    Stephen Marcus

    At a time like this you will find out who are leaders……

  3. Warren Loom

    I never thought the New Zealnders could be so stupid….

    • Bianca Leobaldo

      Anne Groskamp Broughton nope! At this stage… they’re saying it’s going ahead in july 🤦🏻‍♀️😒

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