Introducing Swim Rotorua's new head coach Aidan Withington

Introducing Swim Rotorua's new head coach Aidan Withington

30 Jan, 2020 7:00am
Aidan Withington is diving into a new role as Swim Rotorua head coach. Photo / Stephen Parker

At the end of 2019, after seven years at the helm of Swim Rotorua, Alastair Johnson stepped down as head coach. This means a new head coach will have the chance to make their mark.


"Talent isn't a limited resource, it's more about getting those athletes, inspiring them and showing clear pathways to what they can achieve in the sport."

That's according to Swim Rotorua's new head coach Aidan Withington who started in his new role on January 6.

He takes over from Alastair Johnson, who spent seven years at the club before taking up the role of development athlete and coach manager at Swimming New Zealand at the end of last year.

Originally from Invercargill, Withington spent six years as head coach at a small programme in Hawke's Bay before a four-year stint as youth age coach at Capital Swim Club in Wellington. He was recommended to Swim Rotorua by numerous people who had worked with him and when they tracked him down, he accepted.

"It's a little bit of a lifestyle change as well as being able to come in and do my own thing.

"At Capital, because I wasn't the head coach, I was restricted with what I could do. Here, I have the freedom to come in and do what I want to do.

"There's definitely plenty of talent here. Alastair has laid a really good foundation with them - they literally just get in and get it done. They're very good at taking on any feedback and just applying it in the pool. They're not afraid to work and I honestly think that's the work Alastair has done with them which sets me up well to build on that and take it forward."

Swim Rotorua head coach Aidan Withington. Photo / Stephen Parker
Swim Rotorua head coach Aidan Withington. Photo / Stephen Parker

Withington is yet to announce to the club and the swimmers what changes he will make, preferring to spend some time taking things in first.

"I'm trying to get a good feel of what the area needs and what will be in the best interests of the club, the athletes and the area. I do have my own ideas and one of my goals while I'm here would be to get Rotorua ranked in the top 10 in New Zealand at age group level.

"That might be around three or four years away. Some of them need to be swimming more and I'm trying to set-up long term athlete development and that's going to be one of the key things, when I start changing around the squads and the groups, that I want to make sure we are offering.

"It's not just what they're doing in the pool but their goal setting, their nutrition, having a good contact with a physio so we have injury prevention. I'm working on building those relationships at the moment."

Swim Rotorua juniors will be in capable hands with new head coach Aidan Withington. Photo / File
Swim Rotorua juniors will be in capable hands with new head coach Aidan Withington. Photo / File

He said he found great joy working within a sport which had given him so much growing up.

"I was from south Invercargill, a low income family and we had to work our arse off to get us through being able to do sports and stuff. It was just the opportunities swimming gave me - I was in there and I was training hard and that went into every other aspect of my life, I was getting better grades at school. It was that discipline and everything else.

"I do really enjoy competitive swimming and trying to get every single athlete to be the best they can be but I also really like everything else that the sport offers. When I look back at swimmers I had in the past or that I swam with, they all became professional, driven people with good work ethic."

Aidan Withington is diving into a new role as Swim Rotorua head coach. Photo / Stephen Parker

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