Extracts from a statement issued by New Zealand:
Luis Villanueva, the Technical Director of the Spanish Swimming Federation, will take up the role of High Performance Director in New Zealand.
Villanueva, Technical Director for Spain since 2009, has been responsible for the development and implementation of a high performance plan for the national team and the recruitment and management of their professional staff.
“We wanted someone with a technical and coaching background but most importantly with the skills in planning and directing the implementation of a world class high performance programme,” said Swimming New Zealand Chair, Brent Layton
“We wanted someone who also understood the resources and challenges of a programme of New Zealand’s size within a global sport competing against nations with many more swimmers. We also wanted someone inspired by this challenge.”
Swimming New Zealand is developing a high performance model that is based on clear leadership and direction, world class coaching, a strong team culture and an integrated athlete pathway building to podium results.
“Luis has the credentials to help us achieve our goals. He faced similar challenges within his own country and over four years established a successful model.”
This is in keeping with the ethos that Villanueva wants to instil, having challenged Spanish swimmers “not to just get to the Olympic Games, but to win there.”
“The Games require a lot of hard work and the swimmers have to be optimally prepared to achieve their best performance under maximal stress,” Villanueva said.
He underlined that “training a lot is not enough to win. We need swimmers who can compete in extreme situations. A complete commitment of the athlete with their preparation is also a must every day of the year and every hour of the day.”