South happy to get coach's job
Timaru's Josh South is making his mark out of the pool after being selected as New Zealand swim team coach for the Oceania Paralympic Championships.
The championships are in Darwin near the start of May as part of the Arafura Games.
South, who co-coaches a squad of around 30 swimmers from Timaru, was delighted.
"To be selected as the New Zealand swimming coach is a huge honour."
It also moves South one step closer to achieving his goal of being the head coach at the Paralympics. "It may not be next year in London, but it could be in four years time.
"There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge, but it is a goal of mine."
South said he always wanted to get to a Paralympics when he was swimming but missed out due to being forced into early retirement due to health in 2005.
He lost a leg to cancer when he was 11 and has overcome numerous medical setbacks to swim and now coach New Zealand.
"After that I wasn't supposed to swim competitively but I really enjoyed it and it was just another hurdle to get over."
South represented New Zealand at the World International Paralympic Committee Championships in Argentina in 2002.
He also won gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Wheelchair Championships in Christchurch in 2003.
"I have also been team captain and represented New Zealand eight times all up," he said.
South's selection said it gave him further motivation to go as far as he could coaching.
"Getting selected as New Zealand team coach I am obviously doing something right. Some of the swimmers here think my training sessions are hard, but at the end of the day if you want to achieve a goal, you have to have the odd hard session."
South paid credit for his selection to his mentor and former swim coach Rob Naylor, who he shares a training squad with.
"Rob has been a great support and if it wasn't for his input I probably wouldn't be in this situation."
South said the three North Island swimmers that are going to Darwin are all trying to qualify for the Paralympics next year, so hopefully they can achieve there goal.
He had worked with them before at training sessions so believed they would respond to his style of coaching.
"It's about that self belief, if you truly believe you can achieve something and put in the hard work then it will happen."
South will take unpaid leave from his new job as a youth worker for the Timaru District Council to attend the Arafura Games, showing how committed he is.
- © Fairfax NZ News