Jon Winter

Jon Winter

Champion Swimmer / Coach of Champions – Story by Tony Cutting


Jon with some of his champions Stevie Shipman, Hannah Huria, Tori Grout and Rebecca Moynihan 

Jon Winter recently competed at the World master games in Auckland, bringing home a haul of medals including plenty of Gold.  He is also the coach of some very talented swimmers at the Raumati ‘Raptors’ Swimming Club and a member (and coach) of the Coastal Warrior’s (Masters Swimming Club).

In terms of major achievements, he holds a Gold medal from the 1995 World Championships, Representing New Zealand at the 1996 and 2012 Olympics, and representing New Zealand for ten years in swimming.

Jon admits to being a bit of a wild child when he was younger and a handful at times, yet he was still able to achieve some extraordinary things in the swimming pool, thanks to some great coaches, mentors and his biggest influences – his parents.  More about this soon…

Here is his story …

Jon Winter (Ngai Tahu) was born in Masterton. Fiona and David are his parents and he is the only brother to his three sisters, Sarah, Kirsty and Amanda.

Jon attended three primary schools Wood Hatton School (Wainuiomata), Wainuiomata Primary School and Featherston Primary School.

“I have good memories of all these schools - including learning to swim in Wainuiomata Primary school pool”

He had ‘polar’ opposite experiences at Secondary School.

“I started secondary school at Chanel college Masterton, I had some wicked sports coaches there also started my rugby playing there and had some real success in sport - I didn't however do to well in most other area's and found a lot of School life 3rd and 4th form to be pretty tough”

“Wairarapa College, I loved every minute of my time there.” “I had many more opportunity in many sports and was well recognized for them and had really inspirational teachers (Mr Dickinson 6th form Geo , Miss Ledbetter 6th form Bio) that helped me in educational area's with which I had struggled to that point - I remember fondly a conversation with the Dean saying "when I become a famous swimmer I want my photo to go (in the wall of fame) under Sir Brian Lahore" about 8 years after that the school asked me for a photo for the Wall of Fame! not sure if I got my spot under Sir Brian - but I should go back and see one day.

During college, he played several sports including Basketball, Rugby, Rugby league, Athletics and Swimming.  His favourite subjects at college were Geography, Biology and English.

Working life

Swimming has been Jon’s life.  Reading his list of achievements both as a swimmer himself and as a coach you might start thinking he is part fish.  Here is a summary of his work history to date…

  • Boys and girls institute ‘Learn to swim teacher’ 1989-1991
  • Harbour city aquatics ‘Learn to swim teacher’ 1991-1993
  • FRCC junior coach 1993-1994
  • Capital swim club junior coach 1994-1998
  • Sundevils Head Coach 1999-2007
  • Metro Swim Club head coach 2007-2008
  • United Swim Club head coach 2008-2010
  • Raumati swim club head coach 2010+
  • NZ age group coach 2004-07
  • NZ youth coach 2007-2009
  • Tongan Head coach 2011 world champs
  • Tongan Head coach 2012 Olympics 
  • Wellington Talent ID squad and zonal coach 2015-16

Here is what Wikipedia have to say about Jon.

Jonathan Winter (born 18 August 1971 in Masterton) is a member of the Ngai Tahu Maori tribe and a former backstroke swimmer from New Zealand, who competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States, for his native country. At the 1995 FINA World SC Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil he won the gold medal with the Men's 4 × 100 medley relay team.

Winter also competed in three consecutive Commonwealth Games, starting in 1994. His first outing for the National Team was in Spain at the first World Short Course Championships (1993). Winter also won four consecutive Backstroke categories (1993/94/95/96) at the Oceania Grand Prix and represented his Country in All strokes and Individual Medley. He held National Records in Butterfly, Backstroke and Individual Medley.

Winter retired in 1998 but made a comeback in 2002 (Manchester Commonwealth Games - placed 6th 50 Butterfly) and became the oldest Male to win a National Title in the 50 Freestyle aged 31yrs 7mths. He is the youngest grandson of Frank Winter. He began coaching the F.R.C.C swimming club in Wellington in 1991 as Junior coach to Head Coach Gary Hurring. Winter moved to Hastings in 1998 and formed Heretaunga Sundevils who became hugely successful during the early to mid-2000's - Winter then moved to Auckland and formed United Swimming Club another very successful organisation.

Winter is currently the head coach at Raptors Swimming club and Coastal Warriors on the Kapiti Coast and was Coach for the Tongan Olympic Swimming Team at London 2012.

So who were your biggest influences?

“My Poua (grandfather) Frank Winter was the Ngaitahu Trust Chairman for twenty years and dedicated his life to Whanau and had a passion for Social Justice and workers’ rights - Him and my Mum & Dad have been my greatest influences in the striving to be the best at what I do - I also found it interesting to know my ancestor 'Te Matenga' was a War Chief and a bloody tough old bugger and we have a family name connection to Brothers Thomas and Robert Winter who conspired with guy Fawkes to blow up parliament - it definitely explains a few things about my rebellious side!”

Most Recent Achievements

Jon lists his most recent achievements as a coach with RAPTORS and Coastal Warrior's clubs have many achievements including no less than Fifteen national titles in age group swimming, six world master’s titles and holding five New Zealand master’s records.


Jon with 'National Champ' Rebecca Moynihan


As a coach his latest national champion and currently the RAPTORS best swimmer is Rebecca Moynihan.  The club has a number of strong swimmers including those pictured at the beginning of this article.

Kapiti Coast is very lucky to have such a talented, successful swim coach.  Expect more big things from both the RAPTORS, Jon and the Coastal Warrior’s in the coming years.


For more information on the RAPTORS please feel free to visit

Jon  Winter