AUT Millennium mourns the loss of Jan Cameron, a highly respected and significant part of our history.
Jan’s background in high performance swimming, both as an Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist and also as a coach, drove the transformation of North Shore Swimming for twenty years. “As Head Coach of North Shore, the way Jan operated and the results she produced attracted top talent. She turned North Shore into the strongest club in the country,” says Mike Stanley, Chief Executive of AUT Millennium. “Her contribution to swimming in New Zealand was enormous. She was formative in helping establish the aquatics programme at AUT Millennium, which will remain her legacy to the sport.”
Due to this success with North Shore, Jan was recruited as National Coach for Swimming New Zealand, based at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health, as the facility was known in 2001. It was there she worked with the country’s leading swimmers, overseeing the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic campaigns, and Commonwealth Games swimming teams in Manchester (2002) and Melbourne (2006). Her son Scott inherited his mother’s love for the sport, competing at the Sydney and Athens Olympics, and followed her into coaching at the 2012 London Olympics.
AUT Millennium Chief Operating Officer Steve Lindsay, who worked alongside Jan as Head Age Group Coach of North Shore Swimming Club, has many memories of her well-known ‘tough love’ approach to coaching. “Jan was old school, she was extremely driven and expected her swimmers to work hard,” Steve recalls. “Underneath that tough exterior, she was empathetic, loving and generous. She would do anything for her swimmers, they were everything to her.”
Steve caught up with Jan at April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she coached the Australian para-swimming team. While she intended to retire upon returning to Australia, Jan was still heavily active in the sport she loved. Steve says this is evident of her passion for swimming and coaching. “She was one of kind, there’s been no one else out of that mould.”
Our sincere condolences are with Jan’s husband Kevin, Scott, her friends at North Shore Swimming, and all swimmers who benefited from her dedication and expertise. She will be fondly remembered by all at AUT Millennium.