New Zealand Swimming Alumni Promotes Mentor Program to support Swimmers at Crossroads.
New Zealand has a strong tradition of producing talented swimmers who have achieved remarkable success both nationally and internationally on the swimming and business stage. Recognising the challenges that swimmers often face when navigating critical moments in their careers, the New Zealand Swimming Alumni has recently introduced an innovative mentor program after running a successful pilot in 2022. This initiative sits alongside the already successful funding support it has been offering to aspiring athletes since 1989. The mentor program aims to provide invaluable guidance and support to swimmers who find themselves at crossroads.
The mentor program established by the New Zealand Swimming Alumni seeks to foster a supportive environment where swimmers can receive guidance and mentorship from experienced individuals who have successfully navigated the challenges of their own swimming and/or business careers. The program pairs emerging swimmers with mentors, providing them with a unique perspective and wealth of knowledge to draw upon.
An excellent example of the mentor program’s impact can be seen through the partnership between Zac Reid, a then aspiring swimmer, and Geoff Brown. Geoff, a keen swimmer and experienced financial adviser, stepped in as his mentor to support Zac into the next level of swimming. During the mentorship Geoff helped Zac navigate the critical decisions he faced including balancing education and training commitments. Geoff shared his own experiences and lent on his own contacts to help Zac raise his profile and funds. Geoff also helped Zac to navigate injury, changes in coach and location, missing international teams and making the Olympics and now World Championships team . Through open and honest discussions, Zac gained insights into the potential pathways available to him and was support through challenges he encountered along the way.
The mentorship provided Zac with not only practical advice but also a trusted friend who understood the unique pressures of being a competitive swimmer. Geoff’s unwavering support and encouragement motivated and held Zac accountable to stay focused on his goals and persevere during challenging times. The mentorship fostered a sense of belonging and camaraderie, reinforcing Zac belief in his abilities and instilling the confidence to pursue his dreams. Geoff found fulfilment in sharing his wisdom and experiences, guiding the next generation of swimmers through challenges. By reflecting on his own journey, Geoff experienced personal growth through self-reflection and found the time involved was not onerous.
Zac is grateful for the opportunity to build a relationship with his mentor Geoff.
"Geoff has been a huge help in my journey back from surgery and helping me out in many aspects of my life. I now consider Geoff a close friend of mine who I can always go to when I need someone to talk to. He always has my best interests in mind."
Former Olympians Moss Burmester and Dean Kent were the other two mentors in the pilot. The mentors were chosen based on the requirements of the swimmers, this is a critical part of ensuring a successful partnership. Mentors can leave a lasting legacy, contribute to a supportive community while remaining involved in the sport they love. This is reciprocal relationship between mentors and mentees it strengthens the swimming community and upholds New Zealand’s legacy of excellence.
The New Zealand Swimming Alumni’s mentor program has emerged as a vital resource for swimmers facing pivotal moments in their careers. Through the inspiring pilot partnership, it is clear that mentorship can play a transformative role in supporting emerging and transitioning athletes. By providing guidance and wisdom and a supportive network, the program empowers swimmers to navigate crossroads with confidence and ultimately shaping the future of our swimmers.
Are you an accomplished swimmer or business person looking to make a lasting impact and share your wealth of experience with the next generation? Or are you a swimmer at a crossroad, seeking guidance and support to navigate the challenges ahead? Let us know if you have any questions or are keen to join the New Zealand Swimming Alumni’s mentor program today but emailing firstname.lastname@example.org