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The start of something extraordinary

Three Kiwi Para swimmers have made history by forming the first ever swim team to compete at an S14 specific international event.

Orca’s Jane Fox, Blenheim’s Jack Bugler and Taupo’s Cuda Tawhai represented New Zealand at the INAS Global Games in Brisbane in October.

INAS – now known as ‘virtus’, the World Intellectual Impairment Sport organisation – events have never been attended by Kiwi swimmers previously for a variety of reasons, but that didn’t stop the trio in stepping forward to gain international experience.

The highlights in the water came in the form of two New Zealand Para records – Jane breaking the S14 400m freestyle record and the S14 100m butterfly mark. Both Jane and Jack’s best placing at the event was 15th.


A special moment and highlight outside of the pool was Cuda being named the flagbearer for the New Zealand contingent at the opening ceremony.


With the INAS Global Games featuring 1000 international athletes and being a multi-sport event, it was a massive step up for the group. Along with the experience gained, the trio were also internationally classified which solidifies their future as S14 swimmers.


Their successful classification also means in the past year Swimming New Zealand has helped build a base of internationally classified S14 Kiwi Para swimmers – now boasting the highest number in seven years since intellectually impaired have been included by World Para Swimming, growing from 1 previously to 4 currently.


Moving forward this is a classification with massive potential for growth in New Zealand. Internationally, the S14 class is ultra-competitive – for example the fastest 100m backstroke at the Global Games for women being 1:09.15 and for men 1:02.69.


Also taking place prior to the INAS Global Games was an international sporting summit which was attended, thanks to a Prime Ministers Scholarship, by our National Para Swimming Development Coordinator – Cameron Leslie. The theme of the summit was inclusion and what matters in the future.


Swimming New Zealand wishes to congratulate Jane, Jack and Cuda on their qualification and history-making attendance to the INAS Global Games.


We wish to also thank Taupo’s Char Tawhai and Blenheim’s Liz Peipi for their support with the team while in Brisbane.

To see photos of the athletes, their travels and the competition - Click Here


More about S14 eligibility

  • Swimmers must have a restriction on intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour. This impairment needs to be present before the age of 18.

  • Such evidence could include (but not limited to) receives ORS (ongoing resourcing scheme) at school, a formal assessment of cognitive and adaptive behaviour, is receiving any service relating to accommodation, employment, protection and/or financial support because of the intellectual impairment.

To learn more, contact our National Para Swimming Development Coordinator – Cameron Leslie – on cameron@swimming.org.nz