Stefan Swanepoel has given up the trappings of the corporate world to return to what he loves doing the most.

The experienced 32-year-old swimming coach begins this week as the new head coach of the Omanu Swim Club, after giving up being a professional coach 18 months ago to concentrate on a corporate career.

He was head coach of Otumoetai Swimming Club from October 2009 to February last year and built the club's elite swim programme from the grass roots level up.

Now he is excited about the prospect of doing the same with the Omanu club that is closely aligned and part of the Omanu Surf Lifesaving Club.


"It has been a year of seeing what the world is like outside of sports coaching and coming back to swimming it almost feels like a bit of an inevitability for me," Swanepoel said.

"I found myself sitting at home every once in a while working through training programmes, season plans and that sort of thing, so I thought okay it is about time to go back and see what's available."

During his time away from swimming, he has kept close tabs on the swimmers he first worked with who have reached international levels, like Tem Strickland, Hamish Miller and Daniel Barron.

"Just seeing all those kids progress through the years is absolutely incredible."

The Omanu opportunity was too good to ignore.

"A swim programme that can be nurtured and grown from the very grassroots through to something I think can be potentially another powerhouse in Tauranga," he said.

"There is an incredible amount of lane space at the pool based at Mount College. There are six lanes in a 33m pool and we have full use of the pool.

"The programme is open for everyone in the community. The surf club gets priority for their athletes and I will ensure that they are fit enough to do the work."

Omanu Swim Club directors Scott Bartlett and Trish Mau are thrilled to have a coach of Swanepoel's standing on board.

"The Omanu Swim Club was developed in 2014 and we needed a head coach to develop some stability in our programme and a long-term programme," Bartlett said.

"Stefan was the most suitably qualified person we had by a long way. We found that Stefan would allow us to build a really good programme to provide Tauranga with another outlet where kids can compete and then come to the beach and become trained lifeguards."

Mau says the enthusiasm coming from the swimming community about Swanepoel's appointment has been great.

"We have had people who previously swam with Stefan going 'yahoo, Stefan's back and we want in'," she said.

"So that is really exciting to see that building already.

"The club has been serving its purpose of giving the Omanu surf kids a place to train and also another outlet for the community to get fit for summer and get water safe.

"Now with Stefan along there is huge room for potential growth."