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Gerrard, who is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine, after a long career at the institution, said it was a great honour to accept the position of president.
``Swimming has been an important part of my life and it is a great honour for me to accept the privilege of being the Swimming New Zealand President and I look forward to working with the SNZ board and staff,'' he said in a statement.
Gerrard aims to be an advocate for grassroots swimming in New Zealand.
``If we get our clubs and coaches strong, then the podium places and the representation at the highest level will look after themselves.''
Gerrard won a gold medal at the 1966 Kingston Commonwealth Games in the men's 220-yard butterfly and was a member of the bronze medal winning 4x110-yard men's medley relay team.
After retiring from competitive swimming, Gerrard set his sights on a medical career and gained a medical degree from the University of Otago in 1977.
He joined the university staff in 1981 and was appointed the Associate Dean of the School of Medicine and Associate Professor of Sports Medicine in 2007.
He is an internationally renowned sports administrator and governor and has held numerous roles with New Zealand teams.
Gerrard led New Zealand teams as Chef de Mission at the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
Following the 1986 Commonwealth Games, Gerrard was appointed to the FINA Sports Medicine Committee, a posting he still holds 32 years later, and is now vice chairman.
In 2011 he was appointed to World Rugby's Member, Anti-Doping Advisory Committee.
In 2013 Gerrard was appointed chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee, charged with granting athletes' dispensation to use prohibited substances for genuine medical reasons.
He lived in Dunedin for most of his life but shifted to Auckland a couple of years ago to be nearer family.