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Shakedown for Games swimmers, chance for youth in Oceania Championships

Shakedown for Games swimmers, chance for youth in Oceania Championships Most of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games swim team will get some invaluable racing practice at the Mayfair Pools Oceania Championships that begin in Auckland tomorrow.

It is the first time that the biennial championships have been staged in Auckland, having previously been hosted in New Zealand in 2000 and 2008, both in Christchurch.

The championships, that include pool competition and synchronised swimming, have attracted 174 swimmers from 14 nations to the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson, making this the largest Oceania Championships ever staged.

The meet will offer opportunities for a number of the New Zealand team to the Commonwealth Games to enjoy some invaluable racing practice as well as teamwork for the all-important relays.

“The members of the Commonwealth Games squad racing this week are all coming in on full training load. Therefore we are not expecting their times to be at their best,” said Swimming New Zealand High Performance Centre coach, David Lyles.

“They have a full schedule of events this week and that will test them and it’s a chance to put into practice the plans and protocols that we will follow at Glasgow.

“It will all be important racing practice for the team, while for younger swimmers it is a change to hone their skills under the pressure of international competition.”

Missing from the squad for Glasgow are Glenn Snyders and Corey Main, who are both back in the USA, Mitchell Donaldson based in Australia while Lauren Boyle is in a three-week training block in Spain.

The New Zealand team also includes three of the four members of the team for the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China comprising backstrokers Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Roskill, Auckland) and Bobbi Gichard (Greendale, Hawkes Bay) along with Jacob Garrod (North Shore).

There are also two members of the team for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships taking part in Waikato’s Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield), now with the Swimming New Zealand High Performance Centre, and Ben Walsh (Porirua City Aquatics).

Australia have sent an exciting group of next generation swimmers to the championships in a 19-strong squad.

They are headlined by rising stars Kyle Chalmers, Ami Matsuo and Brianna Throssell, who will compete at the Youth Olympics.

Racing starts from tomorrow until Friday with heats from 10am and finals from 6.30pm, while the synchronised swimming competition takes place on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12pm.