Whether you love or hate the Mount Surf Life Saving clubs sporting achievements, if there is one thing you can't deny and that is that John "Spindles" Bryant is an absolute amazing coach and he has the results to prove it, having now won the Alan Gardiner more times than anyone else in Surf Life Saving.
But is this healthy for our sport? Will other clubs lift their game and try and stop the Mount from claiming a 7th title their home beach!
Below is a little write up on Spindles over the years:
Another record-breaking surf lifesaving season will come to an end for John Bryant next week, with the long-time Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service coach swapping sun and sand for some decent Central Otago Pinot Noir.
The 54-year-old admits he’s shattered after another big season but snaring another slice of history with the Mount club will help nurture him through his longest off-season in 15 years.
Earlier this month, Mount collected their sixth consecutive Alan Gardner Trophy, as the best overall club at the national championships in Gisborne. It’s the first time any club has won six titles in a row and adds to the extraordinary connection Bryant - widely known as Spindles - has with surf lifesaving’s most prestigious club prize.
Since moving to Tauranga in 2003, Bryant has now won nine Alan Gardner titles, including the breakthrough first in 2007. However, he also won three as South Brighton coach, from 2001-03, and another five as an athlete with the Christchurch club from 1995-99. He has now won the trophy 17 times in the 60 years it has been competed for, with the trophy not awarded in 1972.
It was South Brighton’s five consecutive wins that Mount overtook in Gisborne, when they turned a two-point final-day lead into a 62-point masterclass, finishing on 166 points and overpowering Mairangi Bay (104) and Waikanae (94).
“Sunday was a very powerful performance - there were only a few points’ difference going into it but I knew all the other clubs had fired all their shots,” Bryant said. “The programme I run is all designed around that Sunday - that’s when my athletes are expected to fire and they did that big time.”
But success is a constantly-moving target for the Mount club.
“We’ve been quite dominant for five years and you’ve got to keep thinking of new things every year to get the athletes up for it and excited,” Bryant said. “This would be one of the hardest seasons I’ve had and at times, it’s been a real struggle. Some things make it easier though, like the excitement of the young athletes coming into the senior group, which keeps a lot of the older ones going and it certainly does the same for my coaching. Some of my most satisfying moments as a coach haven’t involved gold medals - they’ve been with hard-working athletes accomplishing their goals. I love seeing kids go from not being able to sit on a ski, to making a ski race final. That really rings my bell.”
We wish you all the best John, and thank you for supporting us for all these years!