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Important Announcement Relating to National Championships and Olympic Trials

Dear swimming community,
As I am sure you will all be aware, yesterday afternoon the Government announced further measures to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus (Coronavirus) banning all gatherings of more than 500 people.  In response to this announcement, Swimming NZ has made the following decisions relating to our national championship events over the coming months keeping the health, safety and wellbeing our swimming community at the centre of our decision making process:

  1. Aon NZ Open Championships:

The Aon NZ Open Championships will be postponed until early June (likely 2nd-6th).  The running of this event will depend on Government advice at the time with a final go/no-go decision being made on Monday 11 May.  If the Championships are further postponed or cancelled, we will run an Olympic trial event for long-list athletes only starting on Tuesday 2nd June.  In order for any ‘new’ Olympic trial event to go ahead (outside of our original Aon NZ Open Championships) we will need to wait for FINA Approval which we have sought and expect a positive response within 24 hours. 
Note:  The Fina Swimming Technical Officials School to be held in Auckland prior to the Aon NZ Open Championships has also been cancelled.

  1. Additional Olympic Time-trial Event:

Given the postponement of the Aon NZ Open Championships that were also a FINA approved Olympic qualification event, we will hold an additional Olympic qualification time-trial for long-list athletes in Auckland at the National Aquatic Centre commencing on Tuesday 31 March again subject to FINA approval which we have already sought and expect a positive response within the next 24 hours.  Our President David Gerrard is currently on the FINA Covid-19 taskforce so is at the coalface in terms of FINA’s decision making around changes to Olympic qualification events and is updating us as information is coming to hand.  
Long-list athletes will be permitted to swim at both trial events (Additional Olympic Time-trial Event + the Aon NZ Open Champions) effectively providing long-list athletes with an additional Olympic qualification opportunity.  The current Swimming NZ Olympic Nomination Criteria will be amended accordingly.  All long-list athletes will be contacted within the next 24 hours to discuss the above and confirm details.  This additional Olympic time-trial will only incorporate those events being qualified for and no spectators will be permitted at this event. 

  1. Aon NZ National Age Group Championships (NAGs):

This event has been cancelled.  We discussed at length about other options for running this event including significantly reducing the number of athletes, coaches, managers, technical officials and spectators (approximately 1,300 in 2019) to get it under the 500 mark and moving to another date in 2020 but have decided that at this time, the best decision was to cancel the event.

  1. Division II Championships (Div II):

This event has been cancelled for the same reasons given for NAGs above.
Note: The Fina Swimming Technical Officials Clinic to be held in Dunedin prior to Div IIs has also been cancelled.

  1. NZ Secondary School Open Water Championships:

This event has been cancelled following a statement by the NZ Secondary Schools Council last night that all events on the NZ Secondary Schools Council calendar be suspended indefinitely.

  1. Oceania Championships, LA Invitational and Junior Pan Pacs:

Information relating to qualification for these events, assuming they go ahead, will be circulated shortly.
All event entry fees and spectator tickets for NAGs and Div II will be refunded over the coming days.
We totally understand the great impact that the above decisions will have on many of you that have been training and planning to race over the coming months, but we are in unprecedented times requiring unprecedented decisions.  The health, safety and wellbeing our swimming community must come first as we navigate our way through these difficult times.
We will continue to monitor the situation daily and cannot rule out the further impact to the Aon NZ Open Championships and/or the Additional Olympic Time-trial Event but we will do everything we can to keep you all updated as quickly as we possibly can.

Kind regards
Steve Johns
Swimming New Zealand CEO