Legendary swimmer and coach, Jan Cameron, passed away suddenly in Queensland on May 1st after a sudden illness. She was 70 years old.
Cameron left a legacy as a high performance coach all around the world, including the United States, New Zealand, and Australia.
At just 17 years old, Cameron was a silver medalist for Australia in 1964 Olympic Games in the 4x100m freestyle relay. After the Olympics, she took began teachers school, while coaching on the side. But coaching remained in her heart, and after graduation, she transitioned into the career full-time. She began coaching with the Australian Paralympic swim team, then travelled to coach in Canada and the United States.
She was a key force behind the initiation of the University of Sunshine Coast Spartan Para- Swimming program, where she coached all seven original members to qualify for the Paralympics. In 1991 she returned to New Zealand and worked as head coach for the North Shore Swimming Club, where she turned a club with little resources into a Kiwi swimming powerhouse.
In 2001 she was appointed the national coach at the newly built New Zealand Millennium Institute of Sport and Health, and in 2008 she was appointed general manager of performance at Swimming New Zealand (SNZ). After a restructuring phase, Cameron resigned from SNZ and went back to home soil in Australia, coaching the 2014 Para Pan Pacific Championships and 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Just recently she was at the para head coach at the 2018 Commonwealth Games team, and while she was there celebrated 50 years coaching.
Cameron will be remembered for championing para-swimming in the USA and Australia, and taking New Zealand swimming to new heights.