Hawke’s Bay’s new pool, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre, welcomed age group swimmers from around the nation for its’ first major event; the 2023 National Age Group Championships. Over 470 swimmers from across New Zealand competed in the five-day event that began on Wednesday April 12 and finished on Sunday April 16.
David Zhu of Porirua City Aquatics and Finn Harland of Capital Swim Club were both in record breaking form, with the former breaking his own 16 Year Olds’ 50m Butterfly (set mere month ago at our regional championships) with a time of 25.59! Finn Harland, after gaining momentum at the 2023 New Zealand Championships, continued his energetic charge; breaking two regional records (with one being on two occasions). On the third day of competition, Finn broke the 17 Year Olds 100m Freestyle record that was formerly held by none other than his own Capital teammate, Lewis Clareburt. The old time, standing at 51.92 was blitzed by Finn when he went an astounding 51.00! The following day, he then went on to break his own 50m Freestyle record twice in one day. He dropped a 23.81 to break his old time of 24.05. But then, in the finals, Finn dropped time again with his 23.53! What an amazing showcase of talent from both David and Finn!
Around the region, there were numerous standout performances! Neve Tassicker (Ngā Tai Tūātea a Taraika) picked up double gold in the 400m Individual Medley and 200m Butterfly! Mitchell Heberley (SwimZone Racing) had a great meet – in particular, his 100m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley, where he picked up fourth and fifth placings, respectively. Ava Wilson (Carterton) dropped an entire minute in her 1500m Freestyle to finish eighth in the country! Noah Ireland-Spicer (Ōtaki Titans) had some great swims – even taking out bronze in the Boys’ 15 Year Olds 50m Freestyle. Georgina Bell and Kate Hurley (Pirates) did well to make multiple finals appearances! Hara Hughes (Tawa) won a trio of medals in the breaststroke events and Hunter Lloyd (Raumati) also made several visits to the medal dais over the course of the competition.
It is fantastic to see our age group swimmers doing as well as they did last week. Ngā mihi nui to all our wonderful officials and other volunteers that travelled up to the Hawke’s Bay for NAGs this year.