Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

Kiwi swimmers take on best in Pan Pacific Championships

The New Zealand swim team has arrived in the Gold Coast for a test against the best in the 12th Pan Pacific Championship starting on Thursday.

The quadrennial championships, initially established to counter the European Championships, comprise full-strength teams from swimming powerhouses USA and Australia as well as Canada, Japan, New Zealand and other Pacific nations.

“Other than the Olympics and the World Championships, this is the next highest level of competition that we face,” said Swimming New Zealand High Performance Director, Luis Villanueva.

There is additional expectation on some members of the 14-strong team following mixed performances at the Commonwealth Games.

“Some of our swimmers excelled in Glasgow led Lauren Boyle and Corey Main; some were alright and some were below their capabilities. Those swimmers are fortunate to have a second chance and they are aware that they need to produce their best this week.”

The level of competition will be extreme with New Zealand swimmers, Boyle aside, needing to produce personal best times to qualify for A Finals in the white-hot competition.

New Zealand has only been on the podium twice in individual events at the Pan Pacific Championships in the last 17 years, both bronze medals. They qualified for 10 individual A Finals and three relays in the last Pan Pacs in California four years ago, and in seven individual and four relays in 2006.

“The level of competition is extremely strong. The Americans have a 60-strong team with all of their stars while Australia showed in Glasgow that they are returning as an international force in the sport.

“Japan has some world class swimmers and we know that Canada performed well in Glasgow.

“The important focus for us is on our own performance. We are looking for our swimmers to show improvement from the level they set at the Trials.

“Next year they will need to lift to another level for the world championships and the year after to improve further again if they wish to be competitive at Rio. The swimmers have a real and important opportunity in their hands over the coming week on the Gold Coast.”

Two members of the team at Glasgow, Wellington’s Ellen Quirke and Tash Hind, have withdrawn from the team with injury, with the pool swimmers joined by Kane Radford and Charlotte Webby for the open water competition on the final day.

There will be considerable interest in competitive return of Michael Phelps along with stars Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Olympic and multi-world champion Katie Ledecky who is set to clash against Boyle at the championships.

The competition begins on Thursday at the renovated outdoor Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, which will host aquatics at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The New Zealand team is: Lauren Boyle (United, Auckland), Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore), Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (Coast, Auckland), Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga, Counties Manukau), Steven Kent (Coast, Auckland), Samantha Lee (Capital, Wellington), Samantha Lucie-Smith (Capital, Wellington), Corey Main (Howick Pakuranga, Counties Manukau), Laura Quilter (North Shore), Kane Radford (Rotorua), Emma Robinson (Capital, Wellington), Glenn Snyders (North Shore), Matthew Stanley (Matamata), Charlotte Webby (AquaBladz, Taranaki).