The man who helped set up systems and run the very popular EA Networks Centre since its opening five years ago is on the move.
Centre manager Steve Prescott has worked in the aquatic centre environment since 1979 and is relocating back to his old stomping ground of Dunedin.
The 65-year-old will do some consultancy work and swim coaching, but will be scaling down his working day.
Mr Prescott said the primary reason for his decision to move south was the health issues faced by his wife Fiona.
“I want to spend more quality time with her and we want to be closer to friends and family.”
He said his EA Networks Centre role, which included managing a staff of 100, had been very enjoyable.
“This centre is a real community asset and something the district should be very proud of.
“I’m leaving with the centre in a very good position and with exciting expansion plans a future possibility.”
The plans included extending the aquatic area and adding a dedicated learn to swim pool and big play area, and also expanding the sports hall to include two more courts.
Both projects were included in the council’s Long Term Plan.
He said public swimming pools didn’t pay for themselves, but he firmly believed they should be made affordable for all sections of the community.
The $35m pool and stadium facility built by the Ashburton District Council has just celebrated five years.
Mr Prescott was recruited as council’s sports facility manager in June 2014.
His impressive CV includes a 17-year stint at Dunedin’s Moana Pool and time at the former QE2 pool in Christchurch.
“My first aquatic role was running the pool in my home town of Otorohanga.
“My dad taught me to swim in the nearby Waipa River.”
Mr Prescott said he had a love of the water and had been a competitive swimmer from a young age.
He continued to compete in both indoor and open water events, had dozens of medals to his name, and had been to three world masters swimming championships.
Mr Prescott finishes in his role on August 21, but will be back in Ashburton in September to compete at the South Island Masters event at EA Networks Centre.
-By Mick Jensen