Northland's triple Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder Cameron Leslie has been appointed to the new role of national para swimming development co-ordinator.
Swimming NZ (SNZ), in partnership with Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ), yesterday (wed)announced the appointment of Leslie, the gold medallist in the men's 150m individual medley SM4 at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Leslie will lead the development of a New Zealand Para Swimming Strategy when he starts the job in late October.
The role will be based within SNZ and working closely with PNZ and other key stakeholders. He will also support Swimming NZ's 172 clubs to foster, develop and grow Para swimming to ensure a continuous stream of Para swimmers achieving on the world stage.
Currently based in Whangarei, Leslie will move to Auckland to take up the role to be based at Swimming NZ's offices at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre.
Leslie sees his new role as a positive move forward for Para swimming in New Zealand.
"This is a great opportunity to grow Para swimming and the pathways from a regional swimmer to higher honours. We have talented athletes and officials in our regions and we want to make sure they have the chance to further themselves," Leslie said.
This week also marks 10 years since Leslie won his first Paralympic gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
"This is coincidental timing, swimming has changed my life and I want to share that with others and support the process to be even better for the next Para swimmer. My time in the sport has introduced me to a number of great people but I also look forward to meeting those who I may not have crossed paths with as an athlete."
Leslie is adamant this is not the end of his own sporting career, he will continue para swimming and wheelchair rugby.
"I do think I am in a unique position where I am still competing as an athlete and am able to work in a role like this - it's the best of both worlds. I am extremely passionate about giving back to para sport in New Zealand."
Swimming NZ CEO Steve Johns is excited to have someone of Cameron's experience and calibre in this new role.
"As a three-time Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder, Cameron knows what it takes to succeed on the world stage and will bring an unparalleled level of knowledge and understanding to the role as we look to grow the sport of Para swimming in New Zealand."