American Jerry Olszewski has only been in his new role as Head Coach of Swimming New Zealand since July of this year, but he already has high hopes for building a new culture within the nation.
Olszewski, formerly CEO of Arizona Gold Club in the United States, will be working with National Development Coach Gary Hurring, National Coaching Manager Donna Bouzaid and High Performance Squad Coach Mat Woofe on a number of areas identified for improvement within the nation’s swimming structure.
“It seems that the general public in New Zealand only measure success in Olympic sports by the colour of medals. Swimming is a truly global sport, perhaps the hardest of all Olympic sports in which a New Zealander can succeed,” says Olszewski.
“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 aims for a more collaborative approach, one which seeks insight from coaches throughout the nation of New Zealand in order to develop a more consistent and sustainable high performance program. He also envisions a simpler progressive pathway for swimmers, along with challenging, international time-based qualifying standard. Possible changes to time frames for pinnacle meets’ trials will also be evaluated.
While New Zealand’s new Head Coach is staying positive about New Zealand’s opportunities, he is keeping everything in perspective. He says that it is important to maintain realistic expectations about measurement of success within New Zealand, as even the ‘super powers’ like Australia only came away with 5 overall medals in Rio.