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The start of something extraordinary

Olympic swim hopefuls splash out across the Tasman

New Zealand Swimming’s Olympic hopefuls splash out for their first litmus test on progress towards London at the New South Wales Championships in Sydney this weekend.

The members of the Swimming New Zealand AquaBlacks and High Performance Squad along with the newly formed Wellington Regional HPC are among 66 kiwi swimmers from 17 clubs heading across the Tasman for the three-day meet that has attracted more than 1300 competitors.

Coaches are using the high profile meet, which has attracted many of Australia’s best, as preparation towards next month’s Olympic Trials in Auckland.

“We are using the meet as preparation towards their qualification for London and the Olympic campaign,” said Swimming New Zealand’s London Olympic Campaign Manager, Rushdee Warley.

“The swimmers have not competed seriously for several months and have been in heavy work schedule. This is an important warrant of fitness check for the coaches to see how the swimmers are progressing and if they are on target.

“They are not expecting world class times at this stage but it will give an indication on development and what they need to work on, as they move into training camps after the weekend.

“The meet will have some of the world’s best competing and so it will provide our swimmers with an excellent opportunity for some race practice at the highest level. That’s invaluable for us.”

The swimmers fly to Australia today with competition starting on Friday at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre from 9am to 1.30pm each day with finals from 6pm to 8.30pm (local time).

The Swimming New Zealand representative swimmers competing are:

SNZ High Performance: Glenn Snyders (North Shore), Kane Radford (Rotorua), Steven Kent (North Shore), Shaun Burnett (North Shore), Nathan Capp (Greerton), Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore), Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (New Plymouth), Matthew Stanley (Matamata), Kurt Bassett (Laser Mt Eden), Carl O’Donnell (North Shore), Corney Swanepoel (Roskill Magic), Lauren Boyle (North Shore), Tash Hind (Capital), Amaka Gessler (Motueka), Chloe Francis (North Shore), Penny Marshall (North Shore), Melissa Ingram (North Shore), Jessie Blundell (North Shore), Laura Quilter (Comets).  

Wellington High Performance: Gareth Kean (Capital), Samantha Lucie-Smith (Capital), Emma Robinson (Capital), Ali Clareburt (Capital), Samantha Lee (Capital), Emily Gill (Capital), Isaac Foote (Capital), John Gatfield (Capital), Ben McFetridge (Capital), Brett Newall (Capital) and Sam Turner (Capital).   

North Shore Swimming: Hayley Palmer, Daniel Bell.  

Southland: Natalie Wiegersma (Waverley).  

Canterbury: Sophia Batchelor (AquaGym).