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The start of something extraordinary

New Zealand swim stars team up for exciting national zone clash

New Zealand’s leading and up-and-coming swimmers get a taste of American-styled collegiate competition in the second Zonal Championships in Auckland on Sunday.

All regions in New Zealand are divided into four zones to compete in relay formats within a non-stop two hour session. Each zone team comprises 40 swimmers split into junior and senior teams.

The inaugural Zonal Championships proved a hit with swimmers, coaches and fans alike, and with the generous support of long time swimming supporter, The Brian Perry Charitable Trust, the second event is to be staged at the West Wave Aquatic Centre on Sunday 8 February.

The South Island Makos team will look to retain both the senior and junior titles, with the team led by Junior Pan Pacific teammates Andrew Trembath and George Schroder.

The pair competed in Hawaii last year against some of the world’s top junior swimmers with Trembath having a credible fourth place finish in the 100m backstroke and Schroder finishing sixth in the 100m breaststroke.

Local support will boost the Harlequins who are made up from eight clubs in Northland, Auckland and Counties-Manukau.

Their senior team includes Commonwealth Games swimmers Steven Kent, Laura Quilter and Ewan Jackson, Dominic Mildon who competed in the Junior Pan Pacific championships while Jacob Garrod swam in the Youth Olympic Games.

Their junior squad is headed by 15 year old swimmer Gabrielle Fa’amausili, a bronze medallist at last year’s Youth Commonwealth Games.

Long distance specialists Nathan Capp and Charlotte Webby form part of the Aquaknights team that comprises swimmers from 12 clubs in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay regions.

Webby has earned selection to this year’s world championships in open water while Capp broke Danyon Loader’s long standing 1500m freestyle record last year.

They are joined by Junior Pan Pacific Championship team members Bradlee Ashby and Julian Weir and London Olympian Daniel Bell, with the junior team including Youth Olympic bronze medallist Bobbi Gichard.

The All Stars, from 11 clubs in Wellington and Manawatu regions, are led by Commonwealth Games representative Emma Robinson and Junior Pan Pacific swimmers Ben Walsh and Liam Albery.

Each team is made up of 10 male and 10 female swimmers in the under 16 competition and the same sized teams in the 16 and over competition.

The Zonal Championships, will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 4 from 5pm Sunday 8 February, also include a charity relay that will feature many Olympic and Commonwealth Games swim stars from the past.

CAPTION: Steven Kent will lead the All Stars in Sunday’s New Zealand Zonal Championships in Auckland. (Credit: BW Media)

NZ Zonal Championships