PARALYMPIC COACH PROFILE; Jan Cameron (Swimming – Australia)
Janice Gabrielle Cameron, is an Australian former competition swimmer and coach. She won a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and three medals at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Jamaica. She coached with her former husband Don Talbot in Australia, Canada, and the United States, and then moved to New Zealand, where she worked as a coach and sporting administrator until 2011.
Since May 2013 she has coached the Paralympic Swimming Program at the USC Spartans Swim Club based at University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Cameron was born in Sydney as the eldest of three children; her two brothers were keen rugby players. She attended Rosebank College.
She won a silver medal in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. She spent the majority of her career in the shadow of fellow Australian Dawn Fraser. She combined with Fraser, Lyn Bell and Robyn Thorn to finish second, 3.1 seconds behind the United States. At the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, she won two silver medals in the 440-yard individual medley and the freestyle relay, and bronze medal in the 110yd freestyle. Before the Commonwealth Games, she switched from Forbes Carlile’s swimming team to work with Don Talbot.
After the Tokyo Olympics, she began a teaching scholarship at the Wollongong Teacher’s College (now the University of Wollongong). While studying there she did coaching on the sidelines; her first coaching job was in 1968 at a small swimming club in Port Kembla. After graduation, she took the activity up full-time. She coached Paralympic swimmer Pauline English, working with her at the 1972 Heidelberg and 1976 Toronto Paralympics. She married Talbot in 1973, and worked as an assistant coach for him in Canada, the United States and Australia. While in Canada, she completed an Honours degree in Physical Education and received a Masters in Coaching Sciences from Lakehead University. The couple had a son, Scott Talbot-Cameron, who represented New Zealand at the Olympics and is a performance coach for the country’s elite swimming squad.
Her marriage to Talbot ended in 1989, and she married Kevin Cameron, the director of sport production at Sky Television in New Zealand, in 1990. They first met in 1961 when Kevin, then 14, was playing rugby for a New Zealand school team that was touring Australia. He was billeted with Jan’s family as her brother was playing in the opposition team. Jan and Kevin corresponded as pen pals for six years after their first meeting. after Jan’s retirement from the Olympics, they were briefly engaged, but they both went their separate ways.
Cameron moved to New Zealand with her husband and in 1991 she began working as head coach for the North Shore Swimming Club, turning it from a club with little money and no resources to one that attracted New Zealand’s elite swimmers. In 2001, she began working as a national coach at the newly built Millennium Institute of Sport and Health (now AUT Millennium) at the Auckland University of Technology, and in 2008 she was appointed as the general manager performance and pathways at Swimming New Zealand. In September 2011 she resigned from this position, nearly three months after the release of the Ineson report initiated by Sport New Zealand, which described the high-performance culture of Swimming New Zealand as “negative” and “dysfunctional”. In an interview shortly after her resignation, Cameron said that the report was “Poorly written, poorly done, rubbish”, and described parts of the report as “speculation, opinion and unsubstantiated stuff put there as facts”. From 2011 to 2014 she was the managing director of Jan Cameron Performance Compass, a performance sports consulting company that she founded.
She is the Paralympic swimming coach at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, having been appointed to that role in an interim capacity in May 2013 and officially in April 2014. She has also worked as a swimming commentator for Sky TV. She was selected as an Australian Team Coach at the 2014 Para Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships Team. She has also worked as a swimming commentator for Sky TV. In 2015, she became just the third Australian woman to gain her Platinum Coaching Licence following on from her swimmers’ winning ten medals at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. She was appointed a coach for the Australian Swim Team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.