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The start of something extraordinary


Running a swimming competition in an outdoor pool means taking a chance on the weather, but rain and wind mostly stayed away for Northland’s biggest swimming event of the year, the Douglas Logging Swimming Northland Age Group Championships at Dargaville’s Kauri Coast 50m swimming pool.

Northland swimmers were joined by contingents from Auckland’s Roskill and Coast clubs, who provided some great outside competition for local swimmers at the three-day event.

Coast’s swimmers stayed on after the competition for training camp with Dargaville swimmers.

While a swimming competition depends on having swimmers prepared to take the plunge, it’s also necessary to field sufficient qualified poolside officials to meet Swimming New Zealand requirements.

A small region like Northland might struggle in this area, but as Swimming New Zealand technical advisory committee member Ross Bragg commented during the weekend, "Northland excels at providing a full complement of officials to run meets, including six national referees."

Mr Bragg spent the weekend working poolside and assessing new and existing poolside officials. Mike Smith (Northwave) and Julie Paton (Bream Bay) were reassessed for their national referee’s qualification; David Finer (Bay of Islands) received his regional starter’s qualification. Jo Hodson (Whangarei) and Michelle Hull (Northwave) both qualified as national IOTs and regional judge of strokes, and Sian Williams (Bay of Islands) qualified as national IOT.

Northland also has the country’s sole international Para Swimming official, Carlrine Gillespie. Gillespie, on New Zealand’s FINA list since January 2017, officiated at both the Fina World Swimming Championships in Budapest last July and the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico in December.

She attended a seminar in Italy late last year to further her Para Swimming training and underwent extensive assessments during her time in Mexico. She is now one of the core group of international world para swimming technical officials for 2018-2021.

Article submitted by Julie Paton - Swimming Northland