Swimming New Zealand To Tender National Meets During Covid-19 Season

Swimming New Zealand events out to tender - Photo Courtesy: BW Media for Swimming New Zealand

Swimming New Zealand Sends Swimming On New Market Voyage

By Dave Crampton

Three months after hiring national event manager Dale Johnson and cancelling national meets for most of this year, Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) is putting its national events, including the annual New Zealand Open championships, up for tender. 

Successful tender applicants do not have to be paid members of the federation, meaning they will not be bound by its constitutional or conduct provisions.  

Meets are being put up for tender at the same time as the New Zealand Government took the country out of lockdown, thus permitting swimmers to return to swimming pools for the first time since 25 March due to Covid-19. 

On Wednesday, the New Zealand Government lifted the country out of a six-week state of emergency, and the following day moved the country to  Alert Level 2. This meant shops, restaurants and recreational facilities can open, but restricted to 100 people at each venue. Shortly after, Swimming New Zealand sent a request to its 13 regions asking them to submit financial bids to run nine national competitions and four junior (12U) regional festivals in 2021 and 2022.  

The federation has given regions and anyone else interested one month to forward bids which must have formal approval from the owners of the facility proposed to hold the event, and provide motivations for applying.  

However, no information on the tender process is online, and swimming clubs have not been notified.

Successful bidders are to be announced on June 30 – two weeks after applications close.

While Swimming New Zealand wants someone else to run and bear the cost and responsibility of running national meets in New Zealand, the federation still wants to sell signage, advertising and merchandise at these meets, and  successful bidders must acquiesce should they hold reservations.

“Swimming New Zealand will protect the exclusivity of these commercial arrangements and enforce a requirement for the bidding organisation to deliver and maintain a clean venue free of signage, advertising and merchandise,” regions were told.

As well as regions, Swimming New Zealand welcomes bids from organisations that are not members of the federation, such as councils and tourism bodies, at a time where tourism has been decimated due to Covid-19 and most staff from regional and city councils have taken pay cuts due to the pandemic. Most of the country’s tourism workers – and swimming coaches and all Swimming New Zealand national office staffers  – are currently either being paid a weekly wage subsidy by the New Zealand Government for at least 12 weeks  to keep them employed and off unemployment benefits, or are unemployed. 

Swimming New Zealand Makes Its Move As Nation Makes Extra US$157m investment in sport

To assist in the changes to the sport due to Covid-19, the New Zealand Government has announced a  $264m (USD$157m) investment in the sport and recreation sector over four years as part of  its 2020 Budget, but no  announcements have yet been made as to how this will be distributed. 

Swimming New Zealand is encouraging joint bids for a national event or series of events. Each bid must ensure that minimum venue specifications are met – unless these specifications are waived by the federation.

“SNZ may waive certain standards for pools if they do not materially interfere with the running of the competitions; compromise the health and safety of competitors, officials or spectators; or expose SNZ to undue legal or financial risk. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis by SNZ,” the document says.

These specifications, outlined in a separate document supplied to Swimming New Zealand’s regions, outline the minimum pool depth, pool length and venue seating capacity. Just three championships – NZ Opens, Short Course and the National Age Group championships    are confirmed as supplying backstroke ledges,  and the only other meet that will also provide touch pads is the Division II meet. Notably, the minimum pool depth for the New Zealand Open and Short Course championships (the only two national long course meets) are 1.8m, with the others being 1.4m. Also starting blocks should “give no springing effect”.  

This means that the main facility in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, may not be able to be used for national meets under the guidelines,  as blocks on the bulkhead used when running a short course meet at that venue have a springing effect. In addition, the pool depth is 1.2m at the end where Lauren Boyle took the starting blocks to set her world 1500m short course record in 2014.  

This was also the pool slated to hold the 2020 long course National Age Group championships, a trial for the 2020 Junior Pan Pacific championships.  Both were subsequently cancelled due to Covid-19.

Unless Swimming New Zealand amends its rules, all technical officials for national pool meets will continue to be appointed by the federation, who will have the power to postpone any national event.

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  1. avatar

    WRAC is getting new starting blocks.

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