Oceania Mourns Loss of Coach Jan Cameron

Former New Zealand National Coach and High Performance Manager Jan Cameron passed away suddenly on Monday, April 30th at the age of 70. Currently in the role of Australian Paralympics Mentor Coach, Cameron was on sick leave after having been a part of Australia’s most succesful ever Commonwealth Games swim team.

Appointed to New Zealand’s Head Coach in 2001, Cameron stayed in the role until 2008 when she became General Manager of Performance and Pathways. She helped spearhead the nation’s first recognized high performance program based at Millennium Institute of Sport and Health.

Cameron resigned from Swimming New Zealand in 2011 and moved to Australia to take on the role of the nation’s Head Coach for Paralympic swimming. She also held the position of Head Coach of the University of Sunshine Coast Para Program from 2014 to 2017.

Per Swimming Australia, in 2015, Cameron became only the third woman in Australia to receive swimming’s highest coaching accolade, the Platinum Coaching License. The award recognises individuals who have coached athletes to medal-winning performances at the Olympics or World Championships, and who have displayed ongoing commitment and service to the sport at an international level.

Cameron was also a swimmer herself, having represented Australia alongside Dawn Fraser at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where the pair helped the Aussies win 4x100m freestyle relay silver.

On the coach’s passing, Swimming New Zealand CEO Steve Johns said, “there is no doubt that Jan has played a highly successful role in swimming in New Zealand as an incredibly successful coach at the North Shore Swimming Club and then as part of the Swimming New Zealand high performance team. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin, Scott and their families during this very difficult time”.

Swimming Australia President John Bertrand also lent words of consolation, saying, “Staff, coaches, officials and athletes alike. Jan’s illustrious career has spanned all areas of swimming including as an athlete, coach and administrator.

“An Olympian herself, Jan was swimmer number 109. She represented Australia at both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, winning a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for her part in the 4x100m freestyle relay alongside Dawn Fraser.

“She was so passionate about the sport of swimming. Her enthusiasm, knowledge and wisdom enveloped us all.”

5-time Olympic medalist Fraser said of her teammate, “As a team mate there were none tougher, as a coach there were none tougher and we are all so saddened at this tragic loss.

“I remember ’64 and racing the US in that relay was always going to be a tough ask and Jan took them on, just like she has taken on every other challenge in her life – she was never beaten.

“You could see the work she did with our Para swimmers at the Commonwealth Games – you could tell the influence she had.”

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Paul Staight
6 years ago

I was shocked when I heard about Jan passing. I got to know Jan as a fellow coach when I worked in Auckland. We shared discussion on technique, club structure and trading technique. It was a real pleasure to renew that friendship back in Australia.
A great loss not only to the family but for all of us who came to respect her knowledge and passion for our sport

6 years ago

my thoughts are with the family at this time, lets hope her legacy is that of a coach who improved para swimming, only time will tell

Aussie Swim mum
6 years ago

A truly inspirational lady who made such a positive impact on everyone she met both in & out of the pool. A huge loss to the Australian swimming community. Heartfelt sympathy to her family & friends ?

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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