Over the last week there have been some significant changes to the swimming landscape in New Zealand.
The first being the resignation of Swimming New Zealand’s CEO Christian Renford. It was announced at the end of last week that Renford would be stepping down from his position after the completion of the Rio Olympics.
Renford was recruited for the position in 2013 while work for Rowing New South Wales.
Swimming New Zealand Chairman, Mr Bruce Cotterill said “Christian has done a very good job of leading the organisation through a difficult period, and in particular has repositioned our sport in the eyes of many of our stakeholders, especially those in the clubs and regions around New Zealand.”
Although Cotterill did have praise for the job Renford has done the results have his tenure have not all been positive. In fact over the last two years Swimming New Zealand’s high performance funding has dropped by $100,000.
“Personnel changes are a fact of life within sports organisations around the Olympic cycle, and we are excited about the future of our sport, with a number of outstanding young swimmers coming through, and the opportunity to bring fresh leadership to the 2020 campaign.”
It was also announced that veteran coach Noel Hardgrave-Booth would be stepping away from the deck at year’s end. Hardgrave-Booth is the Head Coach of Hawkes Bay and began his coaching career in 1963.
Hardgrave-Booth earned New Zealand’s Coach of the Year Award for the work he has done with Bobbi Gichard over the last year. In 2015 Gichard won two gold and a silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games, collected a bronze at the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships and was also on New Zealand’s 2015 World Championships team.
“She was seven years old and all she wanted to was jump up and down off the bottom and have fun and she did that for probably the next three or four years. That is maybe why she is so happy to keep going now because she had so much fun when she was young.”
“I think that she has got it all in front of her, it’s got nothing to do with physicality it’s got to do with the mind and whatever she believes she can do it.”
Hardgrave-Booth coached Gillian Pollock to a Paralympic silver in the 200 IM at the 2000 Paralympics in London and was a member of the coaching staff for both the 2013 and 2015 World Junior Championships teams.
Swimming New Zealand’s High Performance Development Coach Donna Bouzaid says Noel’s contribution to the sport over the years has been invaluable.
“Our sport relies on people like Noel who have so much passion and knowledge and dedicate so much of their time to developing and helping our future swimmers.”
“Noel has certainly been a much loved coach in the swimming community throughout his career and has also achieved some fantastic results; we wish him all the best.”