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Swimming NZ looking at new approach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/11/2016

A new collaborative culture is top of the list for Swimming NZ's new national head coach Jerry Olszewski.

Olszewski, who took up his role in September, outlined his initial philosophy at the first training camp for swimmers who form part of the Tokyo Olympic 2020 squad.

He wants New Zealand coaches sharing information and experience to help develop a more consistent and sustainable high performance programme.

He also wants a simplified and progressive pathway for swimmers, and a clear and challenging international time-based qualifying standard.

Olszewski, who has been coaching at top club level in the US for more than 25 years, has spent his first six weeks New Zealand evaluating swimming's needs.

And while he is positive about the opportunities in New Zealand, Olszewski says it's important to be realistic about the measurement of success.

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

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

Olszewski said there were 140 nations competing in the pool at the 2016 Olympics with more than 100 swimmers in some events, and superpowers like Australia only won five medals in Rio.

Olszewski heads a Swimming NZ team which is reviewing the competition structure, squad systems and speaking with coaches to establish a more comprehensive, inclusive approach.

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