The 4th – 9th of April saw swimmers from the Wellington Region travel to the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland for the 2022 Apollo Projects New Zealand Swimming Championships. It was a meet unlike any before, with (due to COVID) “Pods” introduced by Swimming New Zealand in order to keep numbers low and ensure safety.
Over the course of the 6 days of competition, there was an individual gold medal on each day of the meet for Lewis Clareburt. Added to this were 2 relay golds and 1 relay silver - it was a great week for Capital’s Olympian. Lochlainn O’Connor came away with a gold and silver in the 100m and 200m Fly events - denied his second gold for the 200m Fly by Lewis on Day 6 by under 2 seconds. Sam Brown and Finn Harland put in strong performances all week with Sam picking up silver medals in the 400m IM and 200m Back and Finn coming in just behind Sam with a bronze medal finish in the latter. An age group NZ record of 26.33 for Finn in the 50m Back was an impressive return for Capital’s young gun in his first nationals for Capital SC.
The duo of Neve Tassicker and Molly Player, swimming under Pirates for the event, came away with 1 silver and 2 bronze medals between them. Neve finished 2nd in the 400m IM, ahead of Georgia Wills who finished 5th. She then backed this up with a bronze medal in the 200m Fly to wrap up her NZ Champs on Day 6. Molly picked up a bronze herself in the 200m Back with a Wellington Open Record of 2:16.90, her second Regional Open Record of the week after clocking 1:04.20 in the 100m Back on Day 2. There were also silver and bronze medals for Bronagh Ryan who came in third in the 100m Breast on Day 2, but went one better when she picked up the silver in the 50m Breast on Day 6.
Erin Knox continues to impress with great returns in the multi-class 100m Back and 200m Back and Free events. Georgia Wills, Jenna Rolston-Larking, Alex Esposito and Capital’s new recruit Joshua Amyes all come away from NZ Champs with finals experience that will bode them well for the future. Swimming Wellington’s very own Kokoro Frost went well in the sprint Back and Fly heats in days 1-4. He said, “the event was a great success and it was awesome to see Wellington representation in heats, but especially in finals across the 6 days. I look forward to seeing Wellington host Swimming New Zealand’s NAGs for more nationals action next week”. With squad selection for Swimming New Zealand’s overseas tours on the horizon, and qualifying times notched by a number of athletes over the 6 days of competition in Auckland, we can’t wait to see our regional athletes representing New Zealand at the Mare Nostrum Series, the Commonwealth Games, FINA World Champs in Budapest and Junior Pan Pacs over the next 6 months. We will celebrate our qualifiers in due course!