10 Nov 2016

New coach has big plans for broken system

4:16 pm on 10 November 2016

Swimming New Zealand's new national head coach Jerry Olszewski wants to build a new culture, new habits and new competition cycle for the sport in this country.

Olszewski, who took up his role in September, has outlined his initial philosophy for the high performance environment during the first training camp for swimmers who form part of the Tokyo Olympic 2020 Squad.

Lauren Boyle at the Australian swimming championships

New Zealand Olympic swimmer Lauren Boyle Photo: Photosport

He wants a more collaborative approach with coaches throughout the country, sharing information and experience to develop swimming skills and develop a more consistent and sustainable high performance programme as a result.

The American also proposes a simplified and progressive pathway for swimmers; a clear and challenging international time-based qualifying standard and wants to bring in a change to the timeframes for trials leading to pinnacle meets.

Olszewski said he has spent his first six weeks in the country evaluating the needs and establishing a plan to move the sport forward.

Swimming New Zealand’s national head coach Jerry Olszewski

Swimming New Zealand’s national head coach Jerry Olszewski Photo: Swimming New Zealand

He said while positive about the opportunities in New Zealand, it is important to be realistic about the measurement of success in the sport.

"It seems that the general public in New Zealand only measure success in Olympic sports by the colour of medals," Olszewski said.

"Swimming is a truly global sport, perhaps the hardest of all Olympic sports in which a New Zealander can succeed.

"There were 140 nations competing at Rio in the pool and at times more than 100 swimmers in some events. There are no other Olympic sports with this depth and breadth of talent, and so in swimming we understand what a top-16 and a top-8 performance means.

"Our aim will be to continue to improve our international ranking and look towards developing finalists at the Olympics."

Olszewski, with national development coach Gary Hurring, national coaching manager Donna Bouzaid and high performance squad coach Mat Woofe, are also reviewing the competition structure, squad systems and speaking with coaches to establish a more comprehensive, inclusive plan and approach.

- RNZ

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