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The start of something extraordinary

Bumper age group swim team takes on Australia’s best

New Zealand will send a bumper 23-strong swim team across the Tasman for the prestigious Australia Age Swimming Championships in Brisbane starting on Sunday.

The team is buoyed by their performances last year when they claimed eight medals including one win in the week-long championships at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre.

Two stars from last year’s success, Mya Rasmusen (Kiwi West Aquatics, Palmerston North) and Georgina McCarthy (Hillcrest, Hamilton) are returning after winning half of the Kiwi medal haul between them in 2016.

The team is nearly double that of last year which is a testament to the growing number of young swimmers throughout the country who have attained the entry standards.

The team is led by head coach Gary Hurring along with Frank Tourelle, coach of Chelsey Edwards at SwimZone Racing in the Hutt Valley; Matt Teokotai-White, who coaches McCarthy at the Hillcrest club, and Ben Close, Selwyn coach in Rolleston. He is also doing so as a recipient of a New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Association scholarship.

It is the first national appointment for Teokotai-White, who is part of Swimming New Zealand’s Next Generation Coach support programme which aims to build the pool of coaches over the next four years who aspire to be potential head coaches of pinnacle teams or the national programme.

The championships continue until Sunday 23 April.

The team is:

Hannah Bates (Selwyn, Rolleston), Jason Churches (North Shore), Brearna Crawford (Mt Albert Grammar, Auckland), Zachary Dell (Pukekohe), Bianca Donnelly (Rotorua), Ellie Eastwood (United, Auckland), Chelsey Edwards (SwimZone Racing, Hutt Valley), Tristan Eiselen (Otumoetai, Tauranga), Madeline Falconer (United), Gina Galloway (United), Tyron Henry (Howick Pakuranga), Tavarnya Howe (Pukekohe), Andrew Jeffcoat (Fairfield, Hamilton), Sungju Kim (North Shore), Georgina McCarthy (Hillcrest, Hamilton), Lochlainn O’Connor (Greerton, Tauranga), Michael Pickett (Enterprise, Gisborne), Mya Rasmussen (Kiwi West Aquatics, Palmerston North), Sasha Reid (AquaBladz New Plymouth), Annabell Simpson (Northwave, Whangarei), Ciara Smith (Northwave), Kiana Swain (Pukekohe), Thomas Watkins (Capital, Wellington).