Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary


The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named Gina Galloway, Erika Fairweather, Zac Reid and Michael Pickett to represent New Zealand at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Galloway (17 years, Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland) is the granddaughter of Ngaire Galloway, who at 93 years old, is New Zealand’s oldest living Olympian.

“Growing up listening to her stories from her experiences and trips in swimming and the friends she's made through the sport all over the world has been really inspiring for me,” said Gina Galloway.

It is no coincidence that Galloway is a backstroke specialist, with Galloway senior competing in the women’s 100m backstroke at the 1948 London Olympic Games. She finished 11th overall and was the only woman in the New Zealand team.

Galloway won a bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games and will compete in the women’s 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke and 100m butterfly events.

Otago’s Erika Fairweather (14 years, Kavanagh College) will likely be one of the youngest athletes, if not the youngest athlete, competing at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as her birthday (31/12/2003) is the cut off date for eligible athletes.

The last twelve months has been a breakout year for Fairweather who now holds 12 national age-group records, including the girls 14 years 200m and 400m freestyle short course records set last weekend at the Otago Winter Championships.

“It feels pretty unreal and I am very honored that I get this opportunity to represent my country at this level,” Fairweather said.

Fairweather will compete in the women’s 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events.

Zac Reid (18 years, Massey University) who was a double gold medalist from the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games will compete in the men’s 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events.

The Taranaki swimmer won his first New Zealand Open Championship last month by beating Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Lewis Clareburt in the men’s 400m freestyle final. Reid went on to also win the 200m, 800m and 1500m New Zealand titles.

“I made this a goal a year ago and now being selected is an amazing feeling as I have put a lot of work and dedication in trying to gain selection,” says Reid.

The fastest 15-year-old freestyle sprinter in Australasia rounds out the New Zealand swimming team with Michael Pickett (15 years, St Peters Lutheran College) lining up in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle events.

Earlier this year Pickett relocated to Brisbane to train at one of Australia’s most prestigious clubs, St Peter’s Western. Under the guidance of Kiwi coach John Gatfield, Pickett has improved steadily.

In April, Pickett blitzed the field to win the boys’ 15 years 50m freestyle at the Australian age-group championships.

Just last month Pickett finished second at the New Zealand Opens Championships in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle to book his ticket to Buenos Aires.

“This selection is awesome news and gives me real confidence for my future. The competition's going to be a great stepping stone for the end goal of competing at an Olympic Games,” said Pickett.

The 15-year-old also highlighted his specific targets for the Youth Olympic Games.

“To qualify for the final, I want to go under 50 seconds for the first time in the 100m and get into 22 seconds for the 50m.”

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith passed on her congratulations to the athletes.

“Well done to all these athletes for all the hard work they’ve put in to reach this point. We look forward to seeing you represent New Zealand with pride and honor in Buenos Aires in October."

Swimming New Zealand Targeted Athlete and Coach Manager Gary Francis is excited for the athletes who have gained selection.

“Congratulations to Gina, Erika, Zac and Michael. The Youth Olympic Games is a unique experience and this is an excellent opportunity for the athletes to see and feel what a games environment really is combined with the pressures of performing against the highest level of junior competition,” said Francis.

New Zealand qualified two female and two male athlete places for the Youth Olympic Games and the selected athletes were chosen from a total of seventeen athletes who achieved the minimum qualification standard for the games.

New Zealand won two bronze medals in swimming at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games to Gabrielle Fa’amausili (50m backstroke) and Bobbi Gichard (100m backstroke).

The Youth Olympic Games will run from October 6-18th in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Chelsey Edwards (women’s 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle) and Quinton Hurley (men’s 200m, 400m, 800m freestyle) have been conditionally selected as non-travelling reserves.

Athlete Information

Gina Galloway
Age at Games: 17
High School: Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland
Ethnicity: European
Career highlight: Winning a Bronze medal in the 100m Backstroke at the VI Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas last year. I also won the NZ Open Title for the 100m Backstroke this year. 
How did you get into your sport? I can definitely say that I’m a water baby. Growing up I was always playing in our pool at home with my brother. In Year 4 at my very first School Swimming Sports, I noticed I really enjoyed winning the 25m Butterfly race and mum thought I should join a Swim club. I fell in love with competitive Swimming ever since that day.
What do you love about the sport? The thrill of racing! Diving into the water and pushing myself to the max is the best feeling. I love that I am always still learning new things in Swimming and knowing that there is still so much more to learn! Swimming also allows you to set goals to work towards every day and even exceed your expectations sometimes.
Who inspires you? My Nana, Ngaire Galloway. She went to the 1948 London Olympics representing NZL in Swimming. Growing up listening to her stories from her experiences and trips in Swimming and the friends she's made through the sport all over the world has been really inspiring for me. 

Erika Fairweather
Age at Games: 14
High School: Kavanagh College
Ethnicity: NZ European/Maori (Ngai Tahu)
Career highlight: My career highlight was probably medalling at NZ Opens in the 400 and 200 freestyle.
How did you get into your sport: I started swimming in a learn to swim program when I was very young and after completing most of the levels I joined the Dunedin squad system and started racing.

What do you love about the sport: I love the competitive side of swimming, being able to race teammates and friends for bragging rights or chocolate is always fun!  I love the way I move and feel in water.
What inspires you: I'm inspired by many people but most of all I'm inspired my coaches and the older members of my team who love the sport as much as I do and are always supportive of each other while at the same time achieving at high levels in this sport.

Zac Reid
Age at Games: 18

High School: Currently studying at Massey University.
Ethnicity: European
Career highlight: Gold at Commonwealth Youth Games, Bahamas 2017
How did you get into your sport: Through my parents at a young age so I could learn to swim.
What do you love about the sport: That hard work gives results.
What inspires you: The stories from others who have been to Olympics and how much they enjoyed it.

Michael Pickett
Age at Games: 16

High School: St Peters Lutheran College (Australia)
Ethnicity: NZ European
Career highlight: Qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games with a PB and NZ record in the 100 freestyle.
How did you get into your sport: Because my Father, older brothers and Grandad were all great swimmers, and my family was heavily involved, and I had a love for the water from a very young age.
What do you love about the sport: I enjoy the social side of swimming the most as I get to meet new people and connect with people from various different areas and I enjoy the fitness aspect and the motivation to succeed it provides me with.
What inspires you: Success, fitness and my role models.

About Buenos Aires 2018
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is an international, multi-sport event for young athletes aged 14-18 with an educative and cultural nature that aims to foster the Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence in youth.

The event, which takes place every four years, is promoted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be held from October 6 -18 with the participation of almost four thousand athletes from 206 countries.

The Youth Olympic Games is a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes and will allow young athletes to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities. The Games will better prepare them for the world of sport and help them on the performance pathway.

New Zealand expects to send a team of around 60 athletes to contest the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games. The team Chef de Mission is three time Olympic medallist Barbara Kendall.