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The start of something extraordinary

Central Swimming Coaches Summit

Coaches from the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay Regions gathered in Taupo last weekend for a Coaches Summit.

A total of 19 coaches from the four regions came together for a weekend of workshops, planning, networking, calendar setting and discussions on pathways for athletes and future Aquaknights teams.

Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director Luis Villanueva, High Performance Development Coach Donna Bouzaid and NZ Swim Coaches and Teachers Association Life Member Clive Power also attended the weekend to share their visions and ideas with the group.

“As a result of this weekend’s workshop there are a number of new initiatives to be added so watch this space,” said Bronwen Radford, who has been part of the group since its beginnings.

The four Regions that took part are part of Central Swimming, an initiative that was conceived in 2005, which began as three regions coming together with a mission to create pathways for swimmers and coaches.

“We all had a shared vision of providing a competitive opportunity for our athletes and providing development and mentoring for our coaches. 

“Our swimming calendars needed to be aligned and the Inaugural Combined Regional Championships (Long Course) was held in 2007 and continues today.”   

An inaugural Coaches Summit and athlete training camp in Stratford led to the establishment of the Aquaknights. The Aquaknights brand and logo was designed by athletes including Matthew Stanley, Kane Radford, Charlotte Webby and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett. The group also included a number of past New Zealand Representatives such as Liz Van Welie, Karl Poole, Carl O’Donnell and Penelope Marshall.  

In 2010 Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay joined the initial three regions and the name Central Swimming was created with the HBPB logo also being added to the Aquaknights logo.

Today Central Swimming is an Incorporated Society and the Executive is made up of two representatives from each Region and a Coach Representative as selected by the coaches.

“We have a unique model and are proud to share this with the wider community and the opportunity forour coaches to sit around a table from four regions and work together is indeed something special, unique and humbling,” Radford said.

“It is the same for our athletes to have the opportunity to train and compete as one team and build relationships within the regions which in turn opens further opportunities for them.”  

Central Swimming is now about to send their third annual selected team to the Victorian Age Group Championships and embark on their second annual Tri-Series Tour around the Taranaki region.