Swimming faces financial dive after Games

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2012
DANIEL GALVIN/Fairfax NZ

Daniel Bell talks about future funding for New Zealand swimming.

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New Zealand Olympic swimmer Daniel Bell is resigned to losing a significant portion of funding, to the point where he is considering part-time cafe work to subsidise his career.

Bell may not be alone, either.

Other than Lauren Boyle and Glenn Snyders, New Zealand swimmers failed to perform in their underwhelming campaign in London.

While Boyle, who finished fourth in the 800m freestyle final, and Snyders set respective national records, 14 Kiwi swimmers fell below expectations and may face sharp cutbacks for the buildup to the next Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Bell reflected the feelings of his counterparts when he spoke of fears that governing body Sport New Zealand could be about to squeeze swimming's $7,475,796 funding, when it reviews the Olympic campaign in November.

“I won't be surprised if our funding gets cut,” Bell said.

“I'll be gutted if that does happen. If our funding gets cut, a lot of us will have to look at working part-time and not be fulltime athletes. No sport at the elite level we're competing at is cheap. You may be lucky enough to have your family support you financially, or you are going to have to find work to help fund yourself to get overseas to compete and pay for gear.”

The 22-year-old moved to New Plymouth this year to rejuvenate his career and indicated that if swimming's funds were slashed, he would need to take up coaching, or hospitality work, to cover costs.

“Coaching is probably the easiest way and giving a bit back to the sport with the little kids. I can also look at part-time jobs in cafes if I really need to. My mum has had to help me out quite a bit the last 12 months. Coming into the Olympics she said she would help me out because it only comes around once every four years.”

Bell carried a shoulder injury, which required a pain-relieving cortisone injection, into his second Olympic campaign.

Bell was one of several swimmers who failed to match, or better, their personal bests in London.

The poor performances have provoked post-Games' criticism, given the success of many other Kiwi athletes on the world stage.

“Swimming and athletics are the most competed in sports at the Olympics. We still had people breaking New Zealand records."

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- Fairfax Media

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