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The start of something extraordinary


The largest number of athletes ever to enter the NZ Open Water Championships will gather in Taupo across EPIC WEEKEND to compete for national honours.

The 2019 championships will take place from January 12-13 at Lake Taupo and has 189 competitors from 36 clubs entered across the 2.5km, 5km, 7.5km, 10km and 4x1km club relay events.

The 2018 event saw 91 athletes (2016 = 97, 2017 = 88) compete in the championship races which prompted Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) to relook at the event and see where improvements could be made.

SNZ Head of Participation Andy Kent made special mention of the clubs and swimmers who have embraced the new events on offer.

“By offering the 2.5km, 7.5km and 4x1km club relay as additional events in the 2019 NZ Open Water Championships we are stoked that clubs and swimmers have jumped on board to support the changes to the event.” 

Kent added, “we really hope that this is the start of continuing to grow the NZ Open Water Championships, and with the highest ever number of clubs involved in next years event, it will be interesting to see which club comes out on top for overall points.” 

Taranaki swimmer Charlotte Webby (Aquabladz) will return to the national championships after missing last years event due to injury. 

Webby who competed at the 2018 Pan Pacific Open Water Championships in Japan will be the hot favourite in the women’s 10km and 5km events after scooping the double in 2017.

Stefannie Gillespie (Zenith) who won the 2018 women’s 10km title is seeded second behind Webby, with 16-year-old Ashleigh Allred third.

Maiana Flament from New Caledonia returns to Lake Taupo where she was first home in the 2018 women’s 5km championships. Flament will go head to head to Webby, Gillespie and Allred in the 5km championship race with 2018 NZ champion Mia Pugh (Evolution) not competing in 2019. 

In the men’s events David Boles (Swim Rotorua) will be looking to take advantage of the recent retirement of 2018 national champion Matt Scott. Boles won silver behind Scott in both the men’s 5km and 10km races in 2018.

The Rotorua swimmer who won bronze in the 5km and 10km at the 12th Oceania Championships in Papua New Guinea in June will face stiff competition in both events from Sebastien Priscott (Waterhole), Danyon Hardie (Ace), Quinton Hurley (Jasi) and Ned Wieland (Australia).

Phillip Ryan (Waterhole), 28, has entered the men’s 2.5km championship race. There veteran swimmer represented New Zealand at the 2013 World Open Water Championships.

The 2019 NZ Open Water Championships will also feature 14 international competitors from New Caledonia, Australia and Fiji.

The 2019 NZ Open Water Championships is held in conjunction with the 2019 Epic Swim public event.