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New fun, high-tempo swimming league starts on Saturday

New fun, high-tempo swimming league starts on Saturday

9 May 2014

For immediate release

More than 200 young swimmers from Wanganui, Wairarapa and the Greater Wellington area are to descend on the region’s pools as part of an extended Junior Metro League starting this weekend.

The first competition is on Saturday 10 May, at both Wanganui and Cannons Creek near Porirua, with other competitions in coming weeks at Masterton, (24 May) Lower Hutt, and Tawa, with the finals at Paraparaumu on 21 June.

Organised by Swimming Wellington, the league – restricted to those aged under 13 - aims to create an opportunity for children to compete, with an emphasis on fun and involvement. The league extends last year’s competition to the wider region, with competitions in regions simultaneously.

Twelve teams of 16 swimmers will take part each of the four weekends, ranging from children who have recently learned to swim to national champions; however scoring will be team-based. Reserve swimmers will fill in for those unable to compete each weekend.

Swimming Wellington Operations Manager Henrietta Latham says the Junior Metro League aims to increase participation in the sport of swimming within a team environment.

“It is an initiative which will continue to develop the swimmers, with an emphasis on fun and team involvement. It will be high tempo and exciting.”

“As all swimmers are part of a team, points are only awarded to teams.”

Events consist of sprints and relays in four age groups with those nine and under in one group, with those 10 and over swimming against others of their age with the option of ‘swimming up’ an age grade. An eight-member canon ‘splash and dash’ relay will conclude each session, with one boy and girl from each age group representing their team, each swimming 25 metres.

“The 200m canon relay will be the only relay in any of our competitions where junior swimmers of all ages and abilities can compete in the same race.” Mrs Latham says.

“It will be exciting and a favourite of everyone. We expect a lot of close finishes.”

Karori Pirates coach Steve Francis is expecting some fast short racing. He has two teams entered – named Iron Maiden and Judas Priest - and is looking forward to the competition.

“It’s a great concept. They are just juniors.”

Wanganui Swimming Club Head Coach Andy McLay, whose ‘Aquablasts’ team is hosting a first round meet, says his young team is looking forward to competing against swimmers in other regions.

“It’s not often we get to travel to Wellington three times to compete in such a short space of time. The competition will be good for the development of our young swimmers.”

A Wairarapa team ‘Over the Hill’ – a combined team of swimmers from the Masterton, Carterton, and Greytown swimming clubs - is heading over the hill to Cannons Creek this weekend for the first time and hosting the following round on 24 May in Masterton.

Team Manager Anna O’Connell, from the Greytown Swimming Club, is pleased the Wairarapa clubs have combined to send a competitive team.

“It will be a great team-building experience. It will give them a great opportunity to experience a more competitive meet.”

“Our young swimmers will be looking for personal bests in events they haven’t done before. It will be a lot of fun.”

Andy Wilkinson, team manager of the Porirua City Aquatics team says the league is a great idea and will be a new experience for his young swimmers, who are particularly looking forward to the relay events.

“The relays are always so exciting for the kids. It’ll be good for the kids to swim against other clubs – for most of them it will be their first trip away.”

Coach of defending league champions Tawa, Jason McPhee, expects his ‘Titans’ team to be competitive in the “rapid fire fun meet”, and says it is a great opportunity for his younger swimmers to experience swimming against others outside Wellington for the first time.


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