It is difficult to make an assessment of a situation like this with a few photos and the description given. Based on your statement that the contractor has an excellent 30-year reputation, we’d suggest you discuss these concerns with the contractor. If his response does not give you a full explanation, we suggest you engage an independent professional familiar with shotcrete installations and swimming pools to give you an opinion. You can use ASA’s Buyers Guide at to find a consultant.
There certainly is reason to question the quality of the installation based on the description. However, it is not unusual for the pool shell contractor to leave a temporary opening in the shell to relive potential groundwater pressure and prevent floating of the empty pool shell. These holes are, or should be done, in a professional manner to allow complete watertight sealing when filled. In some cases, the openings may include a pressure relief valve.