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Swimming New Zealand names exciting, young team for World Championships

Swimming New Zealand has announced a 12-strong team to contest July’s FINA World Championship in Budapest.

It comprises eight swimmers who qualified for individual events at the New Zealand Open Championships that concluded at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre on Saturday, along with the 2015 double world championship medallist, Lauren Boyle who was selected based on her times set at the Rio Olympics, as she recovers from injury.

Also included are two young swimmers who will compete in the women’s 4x100m medley relay in 17 year old Bobbi Gichard, the Hawkes Bay swimmer now based at the Howick Pakuranga club, and 21 year old Natasha Lloyd from North Canterbury club but based on scholarship at Auburn University. Taranaki veteran Charlotte Webby was named earlier for open water competition.

It is one of the youngest New Zealand teams to a world championship with an average age of 21 years, including two teenagers in Gichard and fellow 17-year-old Gabrielle Fa’amausili.

The nine swimmers to attain individual qualification in the pool is the highest number since 2005.

Swimming New Zealand National Head Coach Jerry Olszewski is pleased with the make-up and promise of the team.

“The quality of performances at the national championships was better than expectation and it was very pleasing especially from the young swimmers,” Olszewski. “Basically all of this team and a number who just missed teams we have a healthy group of swimmers as we prepare for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“I am encouraged by the size of the team which was more than we expected. I was impressed that the swimmers who had come back from the NCAA championships in USA have been able to produce strong performances which is challenging coming from a major short course event in yards and converting to long course in metres.

“The feedback from those swimmers is that there is more support now and certainly a more positive vibe on pool deck.

“The young swimmers like Gabrielle, Bobbi, Hayley McIntosh and Latacia Transom who is based in Australia but just missed the team, and some younger male swimmers like Lewis Clareburt are exciting for the future.

“Others like Andrew Trembath, who had stalled in his swimming development of late, has moved forward and others like Matt Scott from Gisborne have improved significantly. It is very encouraging.”

The team along with a number of other swimmers including Swimming New Zealand’s high performance squad lead to the USA this week for a month-long stint of competition and training at the renowned high performance facility at Flagstaff, Arizona.

“Altitude training for swimmers is commonplace in the US and was a regular thing in the past for New Zealand swimmers. It will become an integral part of our plans going forward. For some it will be a first time and we will ease them through that but others, like Lauren, have been regulars in training at altitude.”

As well as the team selected for the World Championships, a further 10 swimmers were named for the World University Games to be held in Taipei on 20-27 August.

Olszewski said a number of this group narrowly missed out on world championship qualification, and the Universiade will provide excellent international competition to keep this group in the mix as swimmers eye next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The support staff for both events will be named later.

The teams are:

World Championships, Budapest, 23-30 July:

Bradlee Ashby (21, Fairfield) 200m individual medley; Lauren Boyle (29, United) 400m, 800m freestyle; Gabrielle Fa’amausili (17, United) 50m freestyle, medley relay; Helena Gasson (22, Coast) 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley, medley relay; Bobbi Gichard (17, Howick Pakuranga) medley relay; Daniel Hunter (22, Howick Pakuranga) 50m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay; Natasha Lloyd (21, North Canterbury) medley relay; Corey Main (22, Howick Pakuranga) 200m backstroke, 4x100m freestyle relay; Sam Perry (21, St Peters) 50m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay; Emma Robinson (22, Capital) 800m, 1500m freestyle; Matthew Stanley (25, Matamata) 200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay; Charlotte Webby (28, AquaBladz, Open Water)

World University Games, Taipei, 20-27 August:

Cornielle Coetzee (22, North Shore) 100m backstroke; Carina Doyle (23, North Shore) 100m, 200m freestyle; Jacob Garrod (20, North Shore, Massey University) 200M breaststroke; Matthew Hutchins (22, Wharenui, University of Wisconsin) 200m, 400m, 1500m freestyle; Bayley Main (20, Howick-Pakuranga, University of Florida) 100m backstroke; Georgia Marris (20, United, University of Florida) 200m freestyle; Michael Mincham (20, United, AUT) 1500m freestyle; George Schroder (21, Hokitika, Massey University) 100m, 200m breaststroke; Julian Weir (21, AquaBladz), Massey University) 100m freestyle;  Sammy Winward (22, Waterhole, University of Otago) Open Water.

CAPTION: Helena Gasson at the New Zealand Open Championships. Credit: BW Media

FINA World Championships