Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Dianne Farmer Appointed Technical Official for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Dianne Farmer

Dianne Farmer of Manawatu has been appointed as a technical official for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Dianne expects to be an IOT (Inspector of Turns) during the event, however, she won’t learn her role until the technical meeting in Tokyo prior to the commencement of the Games.

Like most officials, Dianne became involved in swimming when her children swam. Initially being a time filler for when the kids competed, swimming quickly became her sport too!

Dianne first started officiating at meets in 1990 as a timekeeper. Being involved in the sport for over thirty years, she has seen some changes to swimming; most significantly would be the backstroke tumble turn and the introduction of a permissible fly kick in the breaststroke turn.

We asked Dianne what has been the reason that she has officiated for as long as she has and she answered, “Without a doubt, the people.” She then went on to say, 

The technical officials are a great group, some people you see more than others but that is the nature of the sport and the personal cost involved in attending meets.  The coaches, swimmers, team managers, volunteers and staff are all unique and make swimming a great sport.  It is also a sport where the next challenge is just around the corner, and from a technical officials perspective, the opportunities to continue to grow and develop are endless.  I genuinely believe that the day you think there is nothing more to learn, that is the day you should quit.”

We went on to ask Dianne if she had seen some incredible swims and swimmers whilst on the pool deck and what has been her most memorable moment. She claimed that there are incredible swims at every World Championship event and there are memory makers at every event you attend.

The one which made the hair on the back of her neck stand up, and still does – Lauren Boyle winning GOLD in the Women’s 800m Freestyle whilst competing in the 2012 FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul. She reminisces on that moment when the New Zealand National Anthem was sung during the medal ceremony, “It will take some beating!”

Lauren Boyle wins GOLD in the Women's 800m Freestyle at the 2012 FINA World Short Course Championships

Manawatu is one of the smaller regions and Dianne is proud to be a part of it! She says the people make it so special, the local Manawatu technical officials have a tremendous camaraderie and, almost without exception, stay in the sport for a number of years after their swimmers have retired.

When asked what her favourite event to officiate at, Dianne answered, “I don't have a favourite meet at any level as all meets have their own requirements and pressures. Last weekend I officiated at a small non-approved outdoor Club carnival and had a fabulous time. NZ Opens, I expect to enjoy just as much, however, the requirements and pressures will be very different. I have learned to go with the flow and deal with whatever challenge happens to pop up... I hope!”

The 2020 Olympics isn’t Dianne’s first international swimming event, she has been fortunate enough to six Oceania Championships since 2008. She has also officiated at two Pacific Games, two FINA World Short Course Championships and one World Championship event. Before Tokyo 2020 kicks off in July, Dianne will officiate at her seventh Oceania Championships, in Fiji come June.