From the Director of High Performance
Kia ora tatou,
Paris 2024 is the focus for New Zealand’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes and coaches right now as they hone their campaigns and prepare for upcoming qualification events.
At HPSNZ we are working with our NSO partners on these campaigns as a priority, to identify any additional support needed and ensure that no stone is left unturned for those who are chasing their dreams. That includes providing additional intelligence and data analysis to support campaigns, working on innovation projects that will aid performance and our specialist practitioners working directly with the athletes and coaches on any enhancements that will make the difference.
The hard mahi is reflected in several outstanding performances recently. The All Blacks Sevens joined their Black Ferns counterparts in qualifying for Paris (and both teams were crowned World Series Champions). Our Canoe Racing athletes picked up a total of five medals at the World Cup event in Hungary in K1 500 (Dame Lisa Carrington and Aimee Fisher 1st and 2nd respectively), K2 500, K4 500 and (Para Canoe) KL2 200. We’ve also seen Hayden Wilde win the Triathlon World Championship Series event in Yokohama and Zoe Hobbs run another sub 11 second 100 metres.
In this HPSNZ update we provide a window into three Paris campaigns – High jumper Hamish Kerr, trampolinist Dylan Schmidt and the Para swimming team.
Hamish talks to us on video about how ‘Team Kerr’, including his HPSNZ Athlete Performance Support practitioners, work together and what they are focusing on in the chase for a medal in Paris.
For Dylan Schmidt, the focus is on coaching and the recent work he has been doing with his long time coach Angie Dougal and guest coach, Canadian trampoline guru Dave Ross, thanks to a Prime Minister’s Scholarship.
The Para swimming team have just returned from a hugely important classification meet in Singapore. Team Manager Amanda White talks to us about its significance and the team’s Paris qualification pathway ahead.
With most of the country’s Paris hopefuls heading to qualifying events over the coming months we’re proud to be right there with them as the team behind the team. For us, supporting the wellbeing and safety of all those travelling to these events – athletes, coaches and support staff – is paramount.
Ngā mihi nui
Bouncing to the top of the podium
If you want to get your athlete on top of an Olympic dais, you get the best in the world to help you achieve that goal.
That’s the strategy of New Zealand Olympic Trampolining coach, Angie Dougal, as she works with Tokyo bronze medallist and current World Champion trampolinist Dylan Schmidt on his quest for gold in Paris.
Using her HPSNZ Prime Minister’s Coach Scholarship, Angie brought legendary Canadian trampolining coach, Dave Ross, to Aotearoa New Zealand for two weeks to work with Dylan while she learned from his coaching style.
Hitting high jump heights
“My goal is to be on the dais in Paris, and I know what I have to do to get there,” says Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medal high jumper and 2022 World Indoor Championships bronze medallist Hamish Kerr.
How to get there is a team effort between Hamish, coach Terry Lomax and his seven-strong HPSNZ Athlete Performance Support team.
Known affectionately as Team Kerr, the group and star athlete are already seeing the benefits of their structured and disciplined collaborative approach, one which is also forged with strong bonds of friendship.
With a recent PB of 2.34 metres at the indoor meet in Slovakia, Hamish and the team are quietly confident they are on the right track.
HPSNZ talked with Hamish and his team about Team Kerr and captured video footage of the group at a recent training session in Christchurch.
Regional Performance Pathway Pods connect New Zealand
Phase two of HPSNZ’s regional pathway project has seen the connection of ‘islands of excellence’ at either end of the country, establishing a New Zealand end to end performance network which allows each region to retain its local competitive advantage.
Head of Performance Pathways, Tracey Paterson, says that following the launch of the regional hub projects in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, a priority for the programme has been the development of regional performance pods to extend and connect the national network and develop quality expertise for athletes and coaches close to home.
Regional performance pods in Northland and Southland are outstanding examples of working nationally but delivering locally. The pods are building on key regional partnerships, adopting a holistic development approach and leveraging strong legacies of sporting success across multiple sports.
Outlook for Para swimming bright
A haul of six medals from New Zealand’s six strong team in Singapore recently, including the first ever relay medals, is evidence the legacy of successful Para swimmers of past years will continue with the next generation.
Amanda White, High Performance Manager of Swimming New Zealand, was the team’s manager at the all-important classification meet and says the results in the pool were excellent.
“Classification in Para swimming is a complicated but critical part of our sport. All Para swimmers need to be classified at an international level as well as by Paralympic NZ. We achieved our goal in Singapore and we can now focus on our build up to Paris knowing all our swimmers are classified,” says Amanda.
Mentoring invaluable part of Te Hāpaitanga programme
Snow Sports NZ coach Lucy Brown’s development has gone from feeling she wasn’t quite good enough for a place on the HPSNZ Te Hāpaitanga coaching programme to a sense of belonging and purpose.
As one of the younger and less experienced coaches on the programme, Lucy says she is very much at the start of her coaching journey whereas most of her group are well into their coaching life.
WHPS Residency Experience selections completed
There is a buzz of excitement around the wider Women in High Performance Sport team now that they have completed the selection process for the 2023 Residency Experience, with offers sent to 13 potential residency candidates.
Women in High Performance Lead, Helene Wilson, says the selection process was robust, deliberately lengthy and provided HPSNZ team members the opportunity to work collaboratively with NSOs, giving them a deeper understanding of their challenges and landscapes in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) space.
Flexibility is a hallmark of the redesigned Residency Experience, previously known as the Women in High Performance Sport Residency Fund, and has, according to Helene, resulted in an exciting and diverse range of applicants.