Triathlon New Zealand hopes the outcome of an independent review will help keep it at the sharp end of the world sport.
The TNZ board has signed off on a fresh model, which includes the creation of a high performance director, and two hubs for the sport. About seven locations are under the microscope for the primary base in New Zealand, and a secondary headquarters will follow, most likely in Europe.
The motivation is simple.
"The sport is evolving so fast globally that if we aren't continually trying to improve then we will fall behind," TNZ chief executive Craig Waugh said today.
New Zealand has a proud record, through the deeds of Olympic champion Hamish Carter, double Games medallist Bevan Docherty and, before the sport was introduced to the Games programme, Erin Baker.
But Waugh's message is time waits for no one and so the move to turn the sport more professional at the top end.
"We're not looking at today or tomorrow. It's about what we need to do to be successful in the long term, not only (Olympic years) 2016, but 2020 and 2024."
The review was done by Brendon O'Connor, of O'Connor Sinclair, an Auckland management and consultancy firm, under an eight-strong steering committee.
Among those consulted for the review, were leading current and past triathletes, including London Games medal contenders Andrea Hewitt and Docherty, Carter, and prominent coaches including swimming coach Mark Bone, Bike NZ high performance manager Mark Elliott, Jack Ralston and Chris Pilone.
Waugh disputes the idea that the new model, which has the high performance director reporting to the chief executive and having programme coaches beneath working with athletes, is substantially different from what has gone before.
"It is where it's been heading to. I think it's exciting. It's based on good people with good skills wanting to work together to assist the boat to go faster," Waugh said.
With the Olympic Games around the corner, nothing will happen until after the London event is over, apart from Waugh working through the process of finding the high performance director.
Waugh cited the situation of national coach Greg Fraine as a case in point of how the sport must develop.
"He is basically high performance director, national coach, does administration and logistics, is a relationship man, No 8, halfback, captain, coach and kicks the goals," Waugh said.
"It's just not do-able. We need specialists; we can't have part time coaches at a real high performance level."
The hubs won't be in full operation until around the first quarter of next year, partly because the high performance boss will need time to settle in and recruit staff, and partly because it won't be until December that the level of funding from Sport New Zealand is revealed. There are a range of issues that will be considered in assessing the merits of the hub candidates, the review stating the advantages of being based in one place included it being ''the most efficient and effective use of funds, people's time and resources".
Waugh said the key was to become a more truly high performance operation rather than a part-time, best-endeavours arrangement.
He knows some parties won't be happy with changes and accepted there will be "some teething, and devil in the detail" issues.
"But with a positive intent I'm confident the right people can get through it."By David Leggat Email David