Swimming: Act on recommendations quickly, says Burmester

By Dylan Cleaver

Moss Burmester competes in the Men's 200m Butterfly during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. File photo / Getty Images
Moss Burmester competes in the Men's 200m Butterfly during the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. File photo / Getty Images

The man who has come closest to breaking New Zealand's medal drought in the pool in recent years said last night that the issues raised in the report had been known for a long time but had not been able to be voiced.

Moss Burmester, who finished fourth in the 200m butterfly at Beijing, had read the five recommendations put forward in the Ineson Report and agreed with the sentiments expressed.

After his retirement from competitive swimming last year, Burmester was highly critical of Swimming New Zealand and Jan Cameron, detailing a culture of mistrust in the high-performance scene which encompassed the distribution and allocation of Sparc's performance enhancement grants.

Burmester is now working alongside Helen Norfolk, Alison Fitch and Cameron Gibson at the newly formed New Zealand Swimmers' Association, effectively an athlete advocacy group that comes under the umbrella of the New Zealand Athletes Federation.

"We're very happy the report has been done," Burmester said.

"It's needed to have been done for a long time now. It's taken time and that has worked against the current swimmers with London not far away.

"If the recommendations are quickly implemented that will be great."

Cameron's phones were being carefully guarded by Swimming New Zealand staff last night, with CEO Mike Byrne returning calls to say "as much as they'd like to", neither he nor Cameron was able to talk.

Cameron was said to be upset by the findings and felt they were inaccurate and unfair.

The crux of all things dysfunctional at SNZ was, according to the source, a personality and management clash between Cameron in her role as general manager of performance and pathways and Mark Regan, the senior coach at the Millennium Institute of Sport, where most of New Zealand's best swimmers are based.

Cameron was said to have struggled with the "hands-off" part of her role, while Regan resented any interference from the former Olympic silver medallist.

The report has clearly sided with Regan, saying "every effort must be made to retain him within SNZ's HP programme, at least through to the London Olympic Games".

SNZ chairman Murray Coulter said Cameron might feel she was "caught in the crossfire, but we'll work through that [and] we'll treat Jan with all the courtesy that's due her".

- NZ Herald

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