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Two Current New Zealand secondary school swimmers will be competing in the pool at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
Gina Galloway from Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland and Erika Fairweather from Kavanagh College in Dunedin are the two swimmers selected.
They are part of a four-strong team that also includes Zac Reid who is in his first year studying at Massey University and Michael Pickett who now attends school in Brisbane.
Galloway (aged 17) is the granddaughter of Ngaire Galloway, who at 93 years old, is New Zealand’s oldest living Olympian, and like Galloway senior competes in the backstroke.
Galloway junior 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.
“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.
Otago’s Erika Fairweather (aged 14, 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.
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 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.
She only took up her sport last season, but this November Wellington East Girls’ College’s Macy Burns joins the Junior Black Fins team for the 2018 Lifesaving World Youth Championships in Australia.
Macy, who represents Lyall Bay, New Zealand’s oldest surf lifesaving club, is the sole Wellington athlete in the 12-strong Junior Black Fins team who will compete in 43 pool and beach lifesaving events against over 40 countries over five days of competition in Adelaide. The Junior Black Fins will compete alongside the Black Fins team in the senior competition.
“I only started surf lifesaving about this time last year,” she says. “I started training about a month before the pool champs last year and it just kind of went well!
“I have been swimming my whole life and then I just got into surf lifesaving, it’s fun and I really enjoy it. None of my family has done it so I am the first one.”
The fact she also lives near Lyall Bay, the club she joined last summer and represents, is more coincidental.
In March Macy competed in her first New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships in Gisborne and won medals in the Women’s U19 Tube Rescue and Run-swim-run events.
She recently had a taste of international surf lifesaving competition with the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving High Performance team that finished second at the annual Sanyo Cup in Japan.
“That was first time representing a New Zealand team, so it was pretty exciting, “she says. “We weren’t far away from Australia either.”
With a strong background in swimming, Macy’s main events are related to that. “At the Junior World Champs I am not doing too many beach events, most of it is in the pool.”
Macy has been swimming competitively at a national and regional level since she was young, representing Wellington plenty of times at national swim meets. Her grandfather used to coach swimming.
She is the Wellington U15 Girls 100m backstroke record holder, setting her record time of 1.06.38 in year 9 in 2014.
Right now Macy is busy training in the pool with both the Capital Swim Club squad and with others such as Lyall Bay Club Captain Sam Lee and Libby Bradley, who is in the 2018 New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Open Squad and who won six U19 titles at the Nationals in March.
“That’s 10 sessions a week at the moment, if I go to all of them,” she says.
There’s a lot coming up before the World Junior Life Saving Championships in November. “We have got the regional [Central Surf lifesaving] pool champs at Naenae Pool in September, the Wellington club swimming champs, the New Zealand Secondary school swimming champs [in Wellington] and the National surf lifesaving pool nationals in October. So it’s a full-on period of competition coming up.”
As well as swimming and surf lifesaving, Macy used to play netball, underwater hockey, skiing and rowing. “I went to the Maadi Cup rowing regatta twice, but I stopped that because it was taking up too much of my time, it was hard to balance that my swimming.”
Macy, who is year 13 and in the same class at WEGC as Pulse netballer Tiana Metuarau, also has NCEA level 3 exams coming up in November whilst the surf lifesaving world champs are on. “I am quite lucky because the world champs only clashes with one of my exams and then my exam after that is quite spaced out and I have time to study for that.”
This coming summer Macy is looking forward to her second full season with the Lyall Bay Surf Club and then is likely to be going to Victoria University next year.