Coaches and Directors

Coaching Staff
Rachel Palmer Age Performance Coach

Rachel Palmer

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.

Jana Korbasova 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

Angela Oliver Junior Performance


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.


Tony Shacklock Youth Development

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

Peter Yates Open Development

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.

Horst Miehe 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.


American Coaches Association - Swimming NZ, FINA

Kristen Daniels Dolphins
Felix Zhang Junior Development
Holly McDonald Age Development
Board of Directors