Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Economic Times Sink New Zealand Pro Race

Mike Bryne, CEO of Swimming New Zealand issued a statement about this year’s cancellation of the proposed FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup race.

The race in Wellington was a new addition to the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, scheduled for March 2009, but was hit hard by the financial downturn in these turbulent economic times.

Although Mike and his colleagues put together an outstanding plan, they were unable to overcome rising costs and the drop in the kiwi dollar value. They had an outstanding sponsorship package that included local support from Wellington City and planned domestic and overseas coverage in Australia and the U.S. through major television broadcasters, but the current economic climate was simply too much for a new race to bear.

"Unfortunately, it is with much regret that I have to advise that we have had no alternative but to withdraw from hosting this leg of the World Cup in 2009," wrote Mike. "Swimming New Zealand does not have the financial reserves that would enable us to undertake the event without sponsorship. The lack of sponsorship has been compounded by the ongoing weakening of the New Zealand dollar against the U.S. dollar. The prize money for the event is in US dollars along with some other costs, that that has increased our budget by more than 20 percent."

"While I am disappointed with this setback, I am also extremely optimistic for the growth of open water swimming in New Zealand and will be working closely with Jan Cameron [Swimming New Zealand’s General Manager, Performance and Pathways] and [legendary marathon swimmer] Philip Rush next year to ensure that our open water program continues to expand."

We are hopeful that this passion for the sport and the can-do attitude can help Swimming New Zealand recover quickly from this temporary setup and we look forward to the race starting in 2010 as it becomes a great tour stop on the pro marathon swimming circuit for many years to come.

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