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Swim Rotorua wins Excellence

Swim Rotorua have won an Excellence Award at the Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards after an unprecedented decision from the judges to recognise the clubs efforts.

The club was a finalist in two categories at the Awards held last Friday night, the Rotorua Trust Community Support Distinction Award and the Hits Community Organisation Business Award.

While Waiariki Institute of Technology won the Community Organisation Award on the criteria, the judges awarded the club the Excellence Award because the decision was so close, and because of the work the swimming club has been doing in the past two years. The judges said that Swim Rotorua showed the quality of past winners and felt they had to acknowledge the club.

"We were thrilled to be a finalist in the Swimming New Zealand Community Club of the year, earlier this year, and that gave us a real impetus to continue to build on our community work," said President Aaron Donnelley.

“This Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Award is a fantastic recognition of what we have accomplished, and we hope the award will help us to achieve even more in the future."

Over the last two years in particular, under the leadership of Alastair Johnson, the club has professionalised its programmes and developed a range of community initiatives which anchor the club firmly in the community.

Swim Rotorua has worked extensively with schools in the Rotorua area, even establishing a partnership with Owhata school and Te Arawa Lakes Trust to set up a free after school swimming programme - Wai Swim at the low decile school. With funding from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust the programme aims to counter the adverse drowning statistics particularly among Maori.

In addition, the club worked with schools with pools to upskill teachers, worked with Sport Bay of Plenty to run the Central Bay of Plenty Interschool Swimming Competition and ran free clinics for participants to help with race skills. The swimming club also established a scholarship fund with the aim of making the coaching programmes more financially accessible.

Other community work includes establishing a popular Lake Swim in partnership with Rotary, which, with the help of the Rotorua District Council, has now become part of Swim the Lake Series, and the proceeds of which go to the local Hospice.

The club also became the local co-ordinator for the inaugural Rotorua Weet-Bix TRYathlon, co-ordinating over 200 volunteers. The event was hugely successful with over 700 entrants. The Swimming Club is also active in the swimming community helping with the organisation of Swimming New Zealand Development Camps and many regional swimming meets, including the Central North Island Meet.