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2024 New Zealand Age Group Championships: Keegan's Commentary

The 2024 NZ Age Group Swimming Championships held at Hawkes Bay saw 65 Wellington age group swimmers compete against their peers from around the country. It was great to see the hard mahi and passion from the region's top swimmers performing at this year's nationals.


Day one started with Charlie Dickison, 13 (Taraika) swimming the Men’s 800m Freestyle clocking in with a time of 9.18.01 to win gold. Then, day one’s finals began with some great swims in the Men’s 100m Butterfly from Declan Broadfoot, 14 (Pirates) as he got bronze with a time of 1.00.31, then, Kayne Howat, 15 (SwimZone) put on a show by getting bronze. In doing so, Howat broke a Wellington Record that was previously held by his teammate, Mitchell Heberley, going a time of 57.56. In the Women’s 100m Butterfly, Hannah Sampson, 14 (SwimZone) got bronze with a time of 1.07.37 and Neve Tassicker, 18 (Taraika) showed us a standout performance, finishing with a 1.02.50 to claim bronze. Zac Alexander, 16 (Pirates) took gold in the Men’s 50m Backstroke with a time of 27.60 and Isabelle Hunt, 15 (Taraika) got the silver in the Women’s 50m Backstroke with a time of 30.97. Great stuff! To conclude day one, in the 16 & Over 4x50 Freestyle Mixed Relay, Zac Alexander, Kate Hurley, Ethan Buchanan, and Georgina Bell from Pirates Swim Team pulled off a blinder to secure the bronze medal.


Day two kicked off with Charlie Dickison, 13 (Taraika) having a blistering swim, going six seconds faster than the heats in the Men’s 200m Freestyle, going a time of 2.03.64 to win gold. Then, in the Women’s Multi-Class 50m Freestyle, Erin Knox, 16 (SwimZone) swam a very good race, going quicker than the morning’s heat, with a 32.65 to win silver. In the Women’s 200m Breaststroke, Hannah Sampson, 14 (SwimZone) put in a fast swim with a time of 2.48.31 to take out bronze. In the Women’s 50m Freestyle, Alyssa Bai, 13 (PCA) took out the bronze with a time of 28.42 and Layla Upton, 14 (Capital) won bronze with a time of 28.18. Moving to the Men’s 50m Butterfly, Declan Broadfoot, 14 (Pirates) got bronze with a time of 27.95 and Kayne Howat (SwimZone) broke a 28-year-old Wellington Record, held back in 1996 by Craig McGinnity, in the heats with a time of 26.04 and in the finals broke the record again with a time of 25.66. Ka pai, Kayne! Finishing off the day two finals with the Women’s Multi-Class 50m Butterfly, Erin Knox, 16 (SwimZone) secured silver with a time of 36.40. 

Day three got underway with the Men’s 200m Backstroke where Declan Broadfoot, 14 (Pirates) won silver, going a time of 2.18.34, and Daniel Williams, 17 (SwimZone) had a great swim to win silver in a time of 2.05.13. In the Women’s Multi-Class 100m Freestyle, Erin Knox, 16 (SwimZone) took the gold in a time of 1.13.48. In the Men’s 100m Freestyle, Charlie Dickison, 13 (Taraika) got gold in a time of 57.38 and then the sprint specialist, Noah Ireland-Spicer (Ōtaki), won bronze with a time of 53.22. Laila Upton, 14 (Capital) then went on to win silver with a time of 1.01.19. The Men’s 400m Individual Medley started off with Declan Broadfoot, 14 (Pirates) having a great swim to get bronze in a time of 4.57.13. Hunter Lloyd, 16 (Raumati) had an amazing swim to get the gold with a time of 4.42.62. And, lastly, in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley, Kate Hurley, 16 (Pirates) swam a tough race to win bronze with a time of 5.14.95. 

Day four started with the Women’s 100m Breaststroke, where Hannah Sampson, 14 walked away with bronze. In the Men’s 200m Individual Medley had Declan Broadfoot, 14 (Pirates) having a superb swim to win gold with a time of 2.15.36 and then Hunter Lloyd, 16 (Raumati) won silver with a time of 2.13.52. In the Men’s 50m Freestyle, we had two fast swims from Kayne Howat, 15 (SwimZone) going 24.65 to get bronze and Noah Ireland-Spicer, 16 (Ōtaki) going 23.97 to win silver; both of them just missing out on new Wellington Records. In the Women’s 50m Butterfly we had Alyssa Bai, 13 (PCA) win Bronze with a time of 30.18 and Hannah Sampson, 14 (SwimZone) once again shine with a silver in a time of 30.20. Lastly, Charlie Dickison, 13 (Taraika) won gold in the Men’s 1500m Freestyle from the morning’s heat in a time of 17.37.84 - an incredible 21 second improvement in his time to finish off the penultimate day.


Starting off day five with the Men’s 400m Freestyle, Charlie Dickison, 13 (Taraika) had another great swim to clinch gold in a time of 4.26.39 and Hunter Lloyd, 16, collected bronze with a time of 4.15.52. In the Men’s 50m Breaststroke, Asher Thomas, 13 (PCA) got gold with a time of 32.92 and Frederick Mills, 14 (PCA) won silver with a time of 32.07. In the Women’s 50m Breaststroke, Holly Sorenson, 13 (PCA) got silver in a time of 35.85. Great swims from Porirua City Aquatics! In the Men’s 100m Backstroke, Daniel Williams, 17, came through with stunning race to get silver with a time of 57.04. In the Men’s 200m Butterfly, Charlie Dickison, 13 (Taraika) finished with a silver in a time of 2.20.80, Declan Broadfoot, 14 (Pirates) also picked up a silver with his 2.17.34, Kayne Howat, 15 (SwimZone) came away with bronze in a time of 2.15.87 and, lastly, Eric Yuan, 16 (PCA) won silver with a time of 2.12.19. To finish the final day, Alyssa Bai, 13, won silver with a time of 2.30.82. Amazing swims from them all.


And that wraps up the five days of amazing racing from all 65 of our swimmers. It’s great to see such an amazing turn out at the Championships, registering PBs and several walking away with top three finishes. We had a total of 43 top three finishers this week as well as many of our swimmers doing lifetime bests. Congratulations to all our competitors and thank you coaches, volunteers (including technical officials, team managers) and to all our parents and spectators who came to support the swimmers over the course of five days. 


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