Ashburton swim team head coach Shane Jones has moved on after eight years in the role and will take time out to re-assess his passion for the sport.
He finished up last Friday after a successful stint running programmes and guiding swimmers in the pool.
Jones, who has clocked up 20 years as a professional swim coach, said he would miss the interaction with swimmers and also with staff like long-server Pip White, who was his assistant.
“I’m looking to step away from swimming for a while.
“I’ll look at other options and see if I can rekindle my passion for the sport.”
Jones took over from Carl Gordon as swim team head coach in 2013 when swimming was based at the old community pool on Walnut Avenue.
He said the prospect of a brand new aquatic centre was a key reason for him moving to Ashburton from his previous role in Oamaru.
The opening of EA Networks Centre in 2015 had given Ashburton a much improved swimming venue.
Jones said on his watch there had been a number of swimming highlights and some top performers.
“More recently we’ve had Bree Middleton who made the transtasman team and Hannah King.
“A few years ago there was the likes of Grace Sommerville and Matt Harford and many others in between.”
Seeing the hard work and dedication pay off for swimmers was one of the best parts of the job, he said.
“The great thing about swimming is that it does give you some great life skills.
“You need to be committed, have good time management and discipline and be prepared to train day in day out during the season.”
Jones said his top swimmers would typically put in 14 hours a week of training over eight sessions and that did not include gym work.
Ashburton District Council will review the needs of the Ashburton swim team, customers and community before it employs a new head coach.
The role will be covered in the interim.
-By Mick Jensen