Director of Coaching
Horst Miehe was born in Tokoroa, and finished school at Tokoroa High School in 1989 with a University Bursary and skills in academia, music and sports.
Swimming was Horst’s biggest passion and his university studies were structured around swim practice. While being an average athlete, Horst finished a Masters in Social Science (Hons) which gave him the skills to think critically, research, develop and execute a plan, and critically evaluate.
In his early coaching days Horst coached in Matamata and guided 4 New Zealand record holders, multiple New Zealand Age Group Champions, a National representative and a club that ranked 10th at National Age Champs despite a town population of only 7,000. Horst would maintain that it was coaching skill, but the reality is probably more based around the great swimming stocks that farmers children made. Through the national swimming programme at the time Horst was encouraged to develop teaching, coaching and first aid qualifications.
In 1996 Horst was given the opportunity to choose between the free market economy of the HPK Swim Club programme or the security and limited scope of a Council programme. Horst chose the HPK programme on the basis that he would have plenty of opportunity to be in charge of his own destiny. Throughout the late nineties and early 2000’s the performance programme developed to the culmination of the plan in 2004 an Athens Olympian and 2 World Championship (SC) athletes. The HPK programme has since delivered multiple National Representatives at all levels culminating with 2 Olympians for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In the 2000’s there was a slow and deliberate development of the financial driver of the programme – the learn to swim. HPK Swim Club went from being a programme that was a swim club and dabbled in learn to swim to a learn to swim operation that also delivered high performance swimming. The programme has grown from 800 lessons per week in one pool, 48 squad swimmers and 14 staff, to over 10,500 lessons per week in 5 pools, 96 staff and over 220 squad swimmers.
Through the early 2000’s Horst became conference junkie, attending multiple ASCA and ASCTA conferences attempting to get more and new ideas to aid the programme. In 2007 this culminated in becoming one of only 3 international Fellows of the American Swim Coaches Association. In 2009 Horst became a FINA educator spreading the swimming word in such tourist hotspots as Ethiopia, and Brunei dar es Salaam. Horst has delivered both Level 1 and Level 2 FINA courses.
On the local swimming scene Horst has been the President of the NZ Coaches and Teachers association as well as a board member, an ex officio member of the SNZ board. In 2012 Horst was recognized as a Gold SNZ Coach. Horst has been involved in delivering silver and bronze courses for Swimming NZ and is currently on the Board of Water Safety New Zealand.
Horst is happily married to Cate with 3 children aged 7, 5 and 2, lives in Auckland, New Zealand, supports the Chiefs rugby franchise, of course the All Blacks and is quite possibly going to be in trouble at home again tonight for working just a little too late.
American Coaches Association - Swimming NZ, FINA
Head Coach & Youth Performance Coach
Paul has both taught and coached swimming for nearly 20yrs. He started out coaching at 14yrs old, knowing quickly what he wanted to do in life. He has worked his way up from a volunteer capacity, managing a swim school to coaching as a fully professional.
Paul is UK Level 3 Club Coach and an NZ Silver Accredited swim coach. He completed an Honours degree in Sport Coaching and later completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Coaching Science in the UK. He is also a fully qualified Sports Massage Therapist having used his skills with a number of professional teams including the Welsh and Italian Rugby teams, Dance and Basketball teams. He possesses a substantial educational background of Business Studies and Leisure and Recreation.
Not that you would get any boasting from the softly-spoken Northern Irish man who is always eager to praise others. Paul believes it is the personal commitment from his swimmers that see them succeed and the great team of people he is surrounded by.
One has only had to talk to Paul for a short time to see his total commitment to swimming, with the same involvement in the sport he has shown since he was an athlete with Lurgan and later Lisburn swimming clubs in Northern Ireland.
Prior to his appointment to Head Coach at HPK, Paul was Swimming Development Coach in Pembrokeshire County. He was responsible for the initial set-up of a performance swim centre and held as a model for other local authorities to follow. He took the team with no ASA National Qualifiers to 15 athletes qualifying for 45 events in a period of 4yrs. He produced the team’s first ever male and female relay finalists with 8 individual finalists placing in 18 different events. Impressively, 44 athletes achieved Welsh Development teams during his time and collected 117 medals at Welsh Age Groups with 8 becoming Welsh Age Group Champions.
After a worldwide search, Paul was appointed to Head Coach at HPK in October 2013 and has worked largely with the Age Group programme. He has placed 11 athletes on various NZ Development teams, 32 athletes at national level and 16 athletes to NZ Open level. His group collected 67 age group medals so far during his tenure and 4 NZ Open finalists that includes 1 medal at NZ Opens.
Paul is a keen surfer and met wife Jenny at University, currently a personal trainer. As well as being his greatest supporter she also now shares the joy of daughter Skye (6) and son Ezra (4), all of whom share the love of the water!
Swimming New Zealand Qualified
Open Performance Coach
Jana born in Slovakia in 1974 where she lived until July 2006.
Swimming was always in her life. She swam 19 years for Slovakia. Broke more than 30 Junior and Open National records. In 2000 she made Olympic team.
After graduating from Eight Year Sport School in Trencin she started studying at Comenius University in Bratislava. Her studies focused on Physical Education and Sport. In 1996 she achieved Master Degree and became professional coach.
Jana worked 9 years as a swim coach in Slovakia when she decided to challenge herself and change her life. She got an offer from New Zealand (North Shore Swimming Club) to come and show what she can do. She grabbed her chance and from September 2006 she became a part of North Shore Swimming Club as a Age Group Coach.
After 18 months Jana got an offer from Howick Pakuranga Swimming Club where she started in April 2008 as a Junior Head Coach. In time and after winning 3 times NZ Junior Nationals she became Age Group Coach and National Development Coach.
Currently she is coaches for the club as a Performance Coach and looking after Open Group. She is a holder of NZ Silver Coaching License and most recently had been honoured as a carded coach by High Performance Sport NZ.
NZ Silver Coaching License
Age Performance Coach
Husband to Petra and proud father to Justice 21yrs, Paige 18yrs and Riley 10yrs. A strong supporter to the 2016 Super Rugby Champion team “Wellington Hurricanes” and NRL Canterbury Bulldogs team. Passion, Drive and Challenges are what has attracted me to becoming a “Professional Swim Coach”
Lead Age Group Coach at HPK Swim Club
Assistant Senior Coach at HPK Swim Club
Age Performance Squad
Senior Open Squad
Born in Wellington NZ
De La Salle College, Auckland NZ
11 Years Coaching experience in competitive swimming
4 years Learn to Swim - Swim Teacher, SwimGym
1 year Junior Coach Papatoetoe Swim Club 2005
10 years at Howick Pakuranga Swim Club 2006 - 2016
ACA Junior Skills Award
Teacher of Competitive Swimming
Bronze Licence Accredited Coach
Silver Licence Accredited Coach (Currently Completing)
Athletes with Disabilities Licence (ASCTA)
High Performance Sport New Zealand Carded Coach (Para - Swimming) 2015 - 2017
High Performance Sport New Zealand Coach Campaign Leadership Programme 2016
Head Junior Nationals Development Coach HPK
Assistant Coach to Age Group and Open Squads HPK
Notable Coaching Achievements:
Coached Tupou Neiufi onto the NZ Paralympic Swim Team for 2016 Rio Paralympics
6 Years winning NZ Junior Nationals Club of the Year
4 Consecutive Years - Winner of Junior Nationals Club of the Years 2008 - 2011
2 Consecutive Years - Winner of Junior Nationals Club of the Years 2015 - 2016
2 Years Runners Up NZ Junior Nationals Club of the Year 2007 & 2014
Multiple Athletes placed on NZ Junior and Age Group Development Camps 2008 - 2016
Multiple National Medalists at NZ Junior Nationals 2008 - 2016
Multiple National Medals at NZ Open Championships 2012 - 2016
Multiple National Medals at NZ Short Course Championships 2012 - 2016
I believe in creating a coaching environment where all swimmers can succeed to the best of their given abilities and talents!
Swimming New Zealand Qualified
Junior Performance Coach & Assistant Age Performance
Rachel Palmer was born in Christchurch in 1991 but quickly moved up to Wellington where most of her schooling took place and her love for swimming began. Rachel attended Sacred Heart College and began her swimming career at SwimZone racing in Lower Hutt. Swimming quickly became the biggest passion in Rachel’s life as claimed regional and national medals from a young age.
Another family move meant that the next chapter of Rachel’s life would now take place in Auckland. At 15 years old she found herself at Howick Pakuranaga Swimming Club under the keen eye of Horst Miehe. Under the coaching of Horst Rachel was able to claim National gold medals and make her first New Zealand team travelling to the Youth Olympic Festival in Australia.
Having been through the land program herself, Rachel had developed a strong passion for the dry land aspect of swimming. Alongside her swimming Rachel began coaching the Junior Land Program run by Jeremy Browne at Pakuranga college. Rachel continued to develop as a swimmer at HPK and looked to further her swimming career and education through a swimming Scholarship to Northern Arizona University in America.
Leaving her comfort zone, Rachel experienced an amazing 4 years of swimming and studying in America. Rachel graduated with a degree in Public Health and Psychology to go with two conference championships, two individual conference titles and a handful of school records.
After graduating Rachel decided to test out her coaching skills and began working for the Rancho San Dieguito swimming club in San Diego. Here she was able to work with a range of ages from 8 up to 18 and was able to experience the culture of American swimming from the other side. Rachel was able to complete her level 3 American Coaches Association accreditation whilst coaching and attended a handful of conferences lead by some of the world’s best coaches.
After a year of working in America Rachel returned home and began coaching at HPK. Rachel has worked for Swimgym/HPK since she was 15 starting at the very beginning with waterbabies and working her way through to the performance groups of the club. Rachel is currently working on her bronze Swimming New Zealand accreditation and is coaching the Age Performance squad as well as the Junior Performance squad.
Rachel is currently working on her bronze Swimming New Zealand accreditation.
Lead Dolphins & Mini Squads Coach
Clinton Baker has been the Dolphin’s coach at Howick Pakuranga Club for the past 6 years. Dolphins is the first step into competitive swimming. He also teaches and managers Swimgym, Lloyd Elsmore branch. He has been here for the past 8 years.
Over the years his involvement in swimming sparked his interest which lead him into teaching and coaching in Western Australia for 12 years. There, he gained his qualification in Royal Life Saving and First Aid. This paved the way into working at State Swim School in Whitford, Western Australia.
Returning to New Zealand he joined Coast Club, North Shore as a teacher/coach for 2 years.
Knowing it is the best club in the country he chose to move to HPK.
His many qualifications include Austswim instructor, New Zealand ASTA, New Zealand pre-school and water baby teacher and has his First Aid level 2.
Teaching children this life skill is his passion. Watching children develop and succeed has made him passionate to share his knowledge and pass it on to the up and coming generations.
Swimming New Zealand Qualified
Junior Development & Club Night Plus Coach
Harshi Dassanayake was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In 1997 Harshi and her family immigrated from Sri Lanka to New Zealand and made New Plymouth their new home. Her swimming career started at the New Plymouth Aquatic Centre where the love for swimming and water was created.
Her family soon moved to ‘the big smoke’ where Harshi was influenced into giving club swimming a go. Howick Pakuranga Swim club was the lucky recipient of Harshi’s talent and she started out in the Dolphins group. As she grew stronger, she moved through the squads at HPK, competing at numerous swimming competitions at Junior level. Her love for sports and competing began.
At high school, she was introduced into the world of waterpolo, where she found her perfect fit. Although Harshi stayed with HPK swim Club until the age of 17, she also played club and school water polo, representing Marist Water Polo at the Nationals for under 16 and under 18 girls.
Like many swimmers, Harshi’s love for the swimming world brought her to Swimgym at Lloyd Elsmore where she applied for a swim teacher job. She started with teaching school age level then diversified to teaching children from 6 months through to competitive swimming.
Harshi has been with Swimgym for over 6 years and has grown a passion for introducing the life skill of water confidence from young children to adults.
When Harshi is not at Swimgym teaching, coaching the mini squads or in the office, she is at Howick Intermediate coaching the Junior Development squad and the Club Night Plus squad.
She has gained her Austswim and Swimming New Zealand certificates in swim teaching and is currently working on her Bronze Swimming New Zealand accreditation in Coaching. She also has her First Aid Level 2 certificate.
When Harshi is not coaching or working at Swimgym, you will find her at the gym throwing weights around. Harshi currently holds a few New Zealand records in her Open weight class for squat, bench and dead lift classes in the Global Powerlifting Committee (GPC) federation.
working on her bronze Swimming New Zealand accreditation
Hi I am Angela Oliver. I am a coach for the HPK Dolphins squad. A little background on
me and my ties with this swimming club begin with my kids. I am a mother of 3 all of whom began swimming at as ‘waterbabies’ at Swimgym when they were 6 months old.
It was being part of their swimming education that inspired me to look into becoming a Swimgym instructor myself. So having achieved the Swim Ed - Foundation Swimming Skills qualifications I have the enjoyed the last 6 years teaching swimming to children 5 years and under and latterly the Swimgym mini squads.
Following my children’s progress into the HPK Club arena I too have stepped up to take on a coaching role where I have a chance to teach the more technical aspects of swimming. As a member myself, of the local masters swimming club, I can appreciate
how much effort is required to learn good technique, and then, how much that can
reward you with improved performance.
I am really enjoying my new role, being part of helping these young swimmers take on board new skills and striving to progress.
Age Development Coach
comes from a mechanical engineering background. He graduated Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering 1982 and later, Master of Engineering Science (Biomechanics) 1987. The masters degree came out of an interest in how the body works.
Tony’s passion for swimming developed while his two boys were learning to swim in the late 1990s. He thought he’d get a few lessons to tidy up his breathing – little did he realise where it would lead.
Swimming with South City Masters Swimmers taught Tony that you don’t have to be the fastest one in the pool to enjoy it and get better. It’s great to be able to get lifetime personal best times when you’re in your 50s! His association with HPK began when HPK’s Head Coach at the time offered coaching sessions to Masters swimmers.
Tony was struck by the misconceptions among masters swimmers, where explanations of how it works or what’s best were often wrong. That lead to a lot of self-study of existing knowledge and working out how the principles of physics apply to human bodies moving through water, in a similar way an engineer would for boats.
However, knowing the physics of how swimming works is not usually helpful for swimmers. It’s necessary to understand what mental images or thoughts cause the right response in the swimmer. Devising good mental images that are accurate and lead to good technique is one of his favourite challenges.
Helping swimmers learn and sustain new techniques requires an understanding of how people learn new motor skills, which is another of Tony’s interests. Getting the initial, barely controlled, movements to become fluid powerful automatic movements is key.
A change of circumstances and a benevolent wife allowed Tony to leave full time employment in 2011. Since then he has been developing as a swim coach, recently attending the NZSCTA Conference working towards Bronze accreditation. Tony now coaches the Age Development squad.
For Tony, swim coaching represents the perfect storm of:
• Fascination with the process of learning skill;
• Understanding & visualising fluid flow and how the body interacts with it;
• Problem solving – finding the best balance between generating force and propulsion, and minimising resistance;
• And most importantly, the rewards of facilitating progress & change in young people.
Working towards Bronze accreditation
Youth Development Coach
Peter is an ex HPK swimmer who competed at the top of his age group for a number of years. While training under Gary Hollywood he participated in the inaugural Swimming NZ Tri-Series development camps in 2007 as well as being selected for the New Zealand under 15 Water Polo team in 2008. In his national career Peter competed in 9 individual finals and earned 4 medals. Peter has completed SwimEd courses for Learn to Swim and Athletes with Disabilities.
Peter has been coaching for HPK for about seven years. Starting out as a volunteer coach at Thursday club night then moving back to Pakuranga college to coach the Collegiate squad. Working alongside Chris Ashley, the collegiate squad was developed from a non-competitive squad with less than a dozen athletes into what is now Youth Development. Peter’s current focus is developing swimmers who have not competed at national competitions with the ever present goal of taking a large team to dominate at Division II.
Outside of coaching competitive swimmers, Peter teaches lessons for primary school children for the Find Your Field of Dreams foundation.