The man who opened the country's first indoor heated swimming pool, received a Service Honours Award and was a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit has died.

John Beaumont passed away on Sunday at Hawke's Bay Hospital aged 82-years, a loving husband, father, brother and poppa.

Mr Beaumont, who retired from swimming at 73, started coaching at 16 before turning professional at 23. He opened New Zealand's first privately owned commercial indoor heated pool in 1968 in Havelock North.

The John Beaumont Swim Centre, which is now Hilton Brown Swimming, saw thousands of both young and old learn to swim there. He coached rugby players, New Zealand swim teams, and generations of Hawke's Bay residents.


He went on to scoop a Service Honours Award for 25 years service to swimming and then just three months later was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) back in 2009.

When handed these awards Mr Beaumont said at the time his pool side highlights included guiding Carmel Clark to finals in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and coaching Paralympian Duane Kale to four gold medals and world records at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.

Mr Beaumont played a pivotal role in encouraging swim education to children, believing it should start as early as possible to prevent water-related incidents. He ran baby swim classes, which were the first in Hawke's Bay, where he had children as young as two participating.

Mr Beaumont was a man with a vision and when he sold the complex he said his ultimate highlight throughout his years of coaching and teaching was "generating enough customers and seeing swimming become popular to the point when I knew we were going to survive''.

His family wished to express their heartfelt appreciation to everyone who shared in his life.

A service will be held for Mr Beaumont at the Havelock North Function Centre on Monday October 9 at 1pm.