News Archive

April 2018

Finally - it starts today !

Today marks the start of  what is a pinnacle meet for many swimmers in the Waikato and throughout New Zealand.

And we're wishing our Waikato Team of 69 swimmers all the very best as they take to the water this morning at the 2018 National Age Group Champs.  You can follow all the action on Meet Mobile or if you're lucky enough to be near your computer, SNZ are live streaming all heats and finals.

You can check out our Waikato team here.

Update on the sale of NAGs tickets from Swimming New Zealand

Over the weekend, there has been a large amount of email traffic relating to the sale of NAGs tickets that included some inaccuracies particularly the number of seats available to spectators for purchase.  So, notwithstanding that fact that many of you do not agree with how the tickets have been allocated and/or sold and have made many suggestions about how this could be improved moving forward, I would like to take this opportunity to provide some facts around the number of tickets available for sale at each session as follows:

  1. There are 1,274 seats available within the pool hall (706 permanent seats upstairs and 568 temporary seats on poolside) for swimmers, coaches/managers and spectators.
  2. With entries closing tonight, we are forecasting at least 700 swimmers and approximately 200 coaches and managers to be registered/attending.
  3. Therefore, 71% of all seats available are allocated to swimmers and coaches/managers.
  4. Of the 369 spectator seats available per session for purchase (there were only 70 spectator seats per session available last year in Wellington) 130 (or 35%) have been pre-allocated to regions and 180 (49%) were sold online last week.
  5. The (min) of 59 seats per session still available will go on sale next Monday at 12 noon  - max 2 tickets per purchase.
  6. There will be door sales available to re-sell tickets from ticket holders who leave part way through the sessions (as has been the case in previous years).
  7. There will be live streaming of all heats and finals sessions free of charge to all (significantly improved production quality from previous years).

There is no question that as the numbers of swimmers qualifying for these events increases, it is putting increased pressure on our ability to accommodate all spectators.  We simply don’t have facilities big enough to cater for all swimmers and all spectators wanting to attend (maybe the new pool in Christchurch will change this?).  The solutions being suggested eg increasing qualifying times, splitting the event (boys/girls or by age groups), North and South with a ‘finals meet’ etc all have their own pros and cons and will therefore be liked by some and criticised by others but we are looking at all options and will be discussing these with regions soon.

Further details re the final allocation of tickets will be circulated later this week once entries have closed and we can then confirm the actual numbers of tickets available.

Kind regards



Steve Johns
Chief Executive Officer

Swimming New Zealand
14 Antares Place, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 0632
P O Box 30 2145, Auckland 0751
P +64 9 478 2916  M +64 21 773 173

March 2018

Waikato Academy for Young Achievers

It is coming to that time of year again where Wilss are going through the final stages of planning for their Waikato Academy for Young Achievers.

This year, they're excited to present their programme to the 2018 Athletes with confirmed presentations by;

  •  Dr Matt Kritz from Athlete Nation
  • Matt Gordon – NZ Representative in Power lifting
  • Kristie Baillie – NZ Representative in Athletics Track

With more to be confirmed in the weeks coming…

This year, they're delivering in 3 Districts -

  • Hamilton – Friday 11th May – Friday 29th June 5.30 – 7pm
  • South Waikato – Saturday 5th May & 19th May 1pm – 5pm
  • Thames/Hauraki – Sunday 12th and 19th August 10am – 3pm

Attached is a programme brochure and if you'd like to nominate your athletes, please follow this link:

Or return a completed nomination form to the Wilss offices.

And if you have any queries, please contact Katie Horne -

Our Swimmer Development Pathway

Our Regional Swimming Hub programme includes a Swimmer Development Pathway which is designed to support our club programmes through the provision of additional support for identified swimmers.   The Pathway provides a great opportunity to bring together the top swimmers and coaches in our region, providing combined training and education programmes and the opportunity to have some fun as our swimmers are challenged with new concepts and activities.

With the arrival in January of our new Hub Head Coach, Darren Ward, we’ve been looking at all the programmes that form part of our Regional Swimming Hub programme to ensure they are supporting swimmers at the right stages of their development.  And as a result, we’ve finalised a Swimmer Development Pathway which we believe will support identified swimmers to achieve their competitive goals.  In doing this, we have amended the qualification standards for the previous squads that operated within the Waikato.  Our new Swimmer Development Pathway includes the following squads –

  • TAPs
  • Potential
  • Pathway
  • XLR8

Attached is the selection criteria for the three top squads (Pathway / Potential / TAPs) which includes an overview of the Squad programmes.

Please note that the Swimmer Development Pathway starts with our XLR8 Achievers Club and attached is a brochure providing more information about this programme.

A few things to note –

  • Swimmers have the 2018 calendar year to qualify for a place on one of these squads for the 2019 year so now is a great time to get a clear understanding of what is required to qualify.  Swimmers should be encouraged to work with their club coaches to identify goals and set target.
  • The selection criteria for Pathway, Potential and TAPs squads is based around FINA points – there are a number of ways to calculate FINA points – here’s the link to one option –
  • The criteria document includes an application form.  It is the individual swimmers’ responsibility to apply for a position in a squad.

Hopefully the attached is self-explanatory but if you have any questions, please just ask !

2018 Division II

Eighty-one of our Waikato swimmers are competing at Division II in 2018.  And it's awesome to see swimmers from some of our smaller clubs, like Mercury Bay, Te Aroha, Te Kuiti and Whangamata,  taking part this year.  With just over a week until they head to the meet, we wish them all the very best of luck.  You can see the full team list below.

February 2018

Blether from our resident Weegie (Chat from our resident Glaswegian)

I am writing this exactly one month from the date which I stepped into the role as Hub Head Coach of Swimming Waikato. In that month, I have had the fortune to have met numerous swimmers, coaches, volunteers, parents and board members, all of whom make up the key elements of the sport of swimming in this region. You have all made me feel very welcome and at home here in the Waikato, I thank you all for this.

It is easy to step into a new position and identify key areas that need improvement, this always comes with a set of fresh eyes. The hard part is to convince those around you that change is required and that your vision for change is the correct path. Where I am fortunate is that my predecessor had identified similar key areas and began the process of improvements, all with the buy-in from the vast majority of key players within our region.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thanks Clive for his efforts in building a working swimmer pathway in the region and for inspiring and energising so many swimmers and coaches. On behalf of Swimming Waikato, I’d like to wish Clive the very best for his retirement.

I am very much looking forward to our first Pathway Squad meeting and to having the opportunity to speak to many of our young and emerging talent. More information on the run-down of the day will be emailed to that group closer to the date.

As mentioned in previous correspondence, there will be alterations to the 2019 qualifying procedure for Swimming Waikato Squads. This will be made available on our website in March, there will be set reminders sent out by social media and by email, so you can all stay updated.

That’s it for me, all that is left to say is that I hope all our swimmers are working hard and having fun!

Best wishes
Darren Ward

Emerging Secondary School Technical Official of the Year

It's a new trophy, and one that we hope will encourage our swimmers to give back to the sport.  After all, our swimmers have attended many, many meets that have taken place because we have people within our community who love the sport and are happy to give up their time to volunteer for the cause.

The trophy also provides the opportunity for any student, with a passion for volunteering, to support the delivery of swimming and become a member of our swimming community.

We'll be awarding our Emerging Secondary School Technical Official of the Year Trophy for the first time at our 2018 Swimming Waikato Awards Evening so if you are one of our current swimmers, or a student with a passion for philanthrophy, email and she'll let you know how to get on the Technical Officials Pathway.

You've Heard It All Before

We need more officials - it's that simple.  We need to give our current team of officials the opportunity to develop their officiating knowledge, and have a break during some of our swim meets.  And we need to ensure some sustainability in this area going forward.

In an endevour to grow our team of officials, we have implemented a minimum ratio of one official for every four competitive swimmers at each club.

We’re sure you can work out if your club has the minimum number of officials required based on this ratio and if not, please consider giving it a go at one of our upcoming meets.  You'll be making a huge difference to the hundreds of young people in the Waikato who have chosen swimming as their sport.

And here's a fun fact - at one of our recent swim meets, one of our Judges of Stroke walked 9.6kms, so it's a great form of exercise too !

Our next meet - Waikato Juniors

It's that time of the year again, when hundreds of our junior swimmers come together to showcase all that they've learned and practised over the previous 12 months.  Our 2018 Waikato Junior Champs are being hosted at St Peter's School on the 10th and 11th of March and we're looking forward to a great couple of days of racing.

Yes, it's about medals, finalist ribbons and trophies, but it's also about swimming your best, never giving up, and maybe even achieving some personal best times.  It's about cheering for the other swimmers from your club and making friends with swimmers from neighbouring clubs.  It's about two days of celebrating swimming and this year, it's about dressing up in your best disco threads and maybe even busting out some disco moves as we introduce a fancy dress session.

Looking forward to seeing heaps of  you there !


Trainer of the Week

The Trainer of the Week is another new Swimming Waikato initiative.  It's about acknowledging a swimmer at each Club who has put in an awesome week of training.  They've turned up on time, carried out their dryland warm up and have had plenty of food to fuel their training.  They're focused and they've given 110% at each session.

The weekly recipient of the Award is chosen by the Club Coach and is presented with a "Trainer of the Week" kick board which he/she gets to train with until the next award ceremony.  But first, the deserved swimmer gets to write their name, in permanent marker, on the kick board - so it's like a floating honours board. By the end of the year, it'll carry the names of all the swimmers who have received this Award.

We've sent information about this initiative to our Coaches and we're hoping to see our "Trainer of the Week" initiative being used extensively throughout our Clubs during 2018.

Our Coach Development Pathway

Our updated Strategic Plan has a big focus on delivering swim teacher and coach development opportunities so that we can support our coaches and swim teachers to deliver fantastic programmes to the swimmers within their clubs.

Over the past month, we've looked closely at the coach education programmes available through Swimming New Zealand and the New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (NZSCTA); we've undertaken an honest review of what we have delivered over the past two years; and we've identified a number of gaps in the information that is readily available for our coaches and swim teachers.

As a result, we've developed a Swimming Waikato Coach Development Pathway that offers opportunities for our coaches and swim teachers to develop skills and knowledge in the areas of real relevance for them.

The Pathway includes the delivery of SNZ Qualifications, access to online education modules, clinics, mentoring and scholarships.  The starting point in our Pathway is the Teacher of Competitive Strokes Course (TOCs).   Once that qualification is achieved, it opens the door for a wide variety of development opportunities and support.

Click here to read more about our Coaches Pathway is attached – if you’re interested in jumping aboard, please contact Darren –


Is your Club doing something pretty innovative?

Growing a successful and sustainable swimming club can, at times, be challenging, especially when committees are wrestling with problems that may seem unique to their club.  In reality, many of our clubs have very similar challenges and many are solving their challenges in new and creative ways.

At Swimming Waikato, we love sharing and celebrating all the tiny steps and wins along the way,  so we are giving all our clubs the opportunity to share their ‘best practice stories’ with us.  These case studies will be a great way to showcase the fun and creative ways that our clubs are overcoming everyday challenges and share the new initiatives being implemented around our region.

The best practice success stories will provide insights and inspiration, together with detailed actions that clubs have taken to overcome challenges so everyone can learn and benefit from experience.  It’s also a great way to promote your club and share your success stories with stakeholders.

Our aim is to share as many stories as possible so if you have a best practice story to share, please complete the Swimming Waikato ‘Sharing your best practise’ questionnaire which is attached and sent it to

These case studies will be published on our website and a copy will be given to the club to post on their website and to share with their stakeholders.


SNZ Meet Updates - Div II and NZSS

A couple of important meet updates from Swimming New Zealand -

2018 Division 2 Championships –
Rotorua Aquatic Centre
18th March - 21st March 2018

The “IM Rule” –  “Swimmers must have achieved a qualifying time in the 100m, 200m or 400m IM to be eligible to enter this meet (They do not need to enter an IM, they only need to meet the qualifying time). Any swimmers that haven’t met this criteria once entries have closed will be removed from the meet.”

After consultation with the Events Advisory Committee and coaches we have decided to suspend this rule immediately pending a review into its intended purpose.

Qualifying times will not change and all swimmers shall only enter qualified events.

2018 New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships.

The venue for this meet has been confirmed as the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, Kilbirnie.

The meet will be Short Course (25m)

Dates: September 13th – 16th 2018 (we will be adding a Thursday night session)

More information will be released in March. (Events schedule, qualify times etc)

We're purchasing Backstroke Ledges

We've identified a fantastic Backstroke Ledge product - check out the website here -

Our Hub Coach, Darren Ward, has used this product extensively overseas and has said it's a fantastic option for backstrokers.  Plus it's built to FINA regulations so we can use them at all our swim meets.

Our plan is to purchase ten of these and seeing they are able to be used with any block, we'll be able to loan them to our Clubs to use at their Club hosted swim meets also.

We'd like to offer our Clubs an opportunity to purchase a backstroke ledge.  Purchasing a ledge for your club would provide your swimmers with an opportunity to train using these ledges and at a cost of NZ$ 510 each, it's a cost effective option.  If you would like to purchase a ledge (or two), please email

Meet Entry Fees for 2018/19

The Board of Swimming Waikato annually reviews its meet entry fees, taking into account both the cost of hosting, and the focus on keeping meets as affordable as possible for our swimmers and their families.

The meet entry fees for the 2018 / 2019 season have been set at -

Meets without prize money / medals:   $8.25 per event

Meets with prize money / medals:  $$9.25


Our new approach to Waikato Championship Meets

As you’ll be aware, we have always applied one ‘age as at’ date for our annual Championship meets.  These meets are –

  • Distance Champs
  • Reverse Distance Champs
  • Junior Champs
  • Senior Champs

The 'age as at date' changes each year to align with the date of our first championship meet of the season and as a result, we have a different group of swimmers who are affected (both positively and negatively) by the changes in the ‘age as at’ date each year.

After much discussion, we have decided that going forward, we will follow the lead from other sports and adopt one date annually as our  ‘age as at’ date for all our championship meets, regardless of when the meets are held.

This will take effect from the start of the 2018/19 swimming season and the date will 31 December.

Apologies to those swimmers who feel they have been unfairly impacted in the past, however, we are confident that having a standardised  ‘age as at’ date will clarify this issue for our swimmers going forward.

Any questions, please just ask.

A tribute to Dawn Davidson

Last week, we lost a very special member of our swimming community.  Dawn Davidson was a long time supporter of swimming in the region, and a Life Member of Swimming Waikato.

We asked another of our life members, Merle Jonson, to share her memories of Dawn ...

"I cannot actually remember when I first crossed paths with Dawn but it would have been at least forty five years ago when we were both young mums with kids in swimming.

Dawn for many years was the learn to swim teacher at Otorohanga where she also coached the various squad levels as well as holding down a full time teaching position at Otorohanga College.  She always had an eye out for someone to assist in the learn to swim area and has tutored many people to join her during the years.

She was a very competent and efficient technical official and spent many hours encouraging others to take part in this very worthwhile experience as well as officiating at Waikato, National and International meets both in our area and around New Zealand.

For many years she was the backbone of the Otorohonga Swimming Club and represented that club well at all Swim Waikato meetings.  Dawn has held many positions on Swim Waikato and has represented Waikato Learn to Swim at a National Level.  She was a Waikato Delegate to New Zealand Swimming meetings on several occasions and was always upfront and forthright in her views.

“Aunty Dawn” as she was affectionately known will be remembered as a very loyal Swim Waikato advocate and participant in all the many aspects of our wonderful sport.

Go well Dawn may you Rest in Peace!"
Merle Jonson
Life Member
Swimming New Zealand


You don't need all the bells and whistles to make a difference.

Rochelle Fineanganofo, Team Manager for the Hukula Swim Club brought a team of six swimmers from Tonga to attend meets in NZ including our Hamilton Summer Meet.  We caught up with her to find out more about this club which is based in Nuku'alofa.

Rochelle is a founding member of the Hukula Swim Club, we asked her what had inspired her to start a swim club in Tonga.

“I was born in Australia and my children learnt to swim there.  Whilst holidaying in Tonga my children rescued people from the water, even though they were very young themselves.  I was pleased that they had the skills to do that.”  She decided that if they ever moved to Tonga she would have to do something to raise the level of water awareness to save more lives.

It all fell into place when she made the move to Nukalofa in 2010.  Rochelle and her husband founded the Hakula Swim Club to actively promote water safety skills and provide a place where children could learn to swim.

Even though Tonga is surrounded by water, Rochelle explained that people just don’t swim.  “There isn’t a word for swimming in the Tongan language.  When you get your feet wet or are sitting with your feet in the water it’s classed as swimming.  ‘Kakau’ is the word that is used but it is also the same word used for ‘shower’.  Swimming is tabu, it’s an attitude that is slowly changing with time but Aunties will still say “you’ll get sick if you go in the water”,  so swimming is not encouraged and as a result there are a lot of drownings.  Many get washed out from the reefs or get caught in rips.  There are places in town where children might get in the water but often get out of their depth.  The problem is a lack of water awareness” said Rochelle.

The club runs a busy Learn to Swim school and currently has 15 competitive swimmers.  Many of the children that come to the swim school have had ‘near drownings’ and their parents have brought them along to learn to swim.  They all become confident swimmers, and many are now ‘passing it forward’ and teaching at the swim school.

The club swims in a Naval Base boat harbour/lagoon in the mornings and in a 15m hotel pool in the afternoons.  They usually swim twice a week but leading into an overseas competition they will train 4 times a week.

The harbour is tidal, at low tide it’s about waist deep but at high tide it’s too deep for the younger swimmers.  The club built a pod for the little ones, so they can teach regularly no matter what the tide was doing.  Each morning they have to swim the lane ropes out and the harbour accommodates 5 lanes.  They can only practice diving at high tide and the pontoon does rock around quite a bit says Rochelle.  They are not able to practice backstroke starts and there are no flags to help judge turns.  When the swimmers do attend a meet with good facilities and dive blocks they usually get good times.  At the Summer Meet Mosese Fineaganofo got a 21 second PB in the 200m backstroke.  “All the swimmers did really well in their backstroke events this year”, said Rochelle.

Hukula Pod


Some of the competitive swimmers travel overseas twice a year, visiting NZ and Fiji to attend meets.  The club is constantly fundraising to make this happen and every little bit helps.  They put on a BBQ every Saturday outside the local shopping centre.  “We don’t sell soft drinks, we have coconuts to help promote healthy alternatives.”

“Once the children are old enough we have various challenge days to raise money. We do swims out to an island, it’s about 1.2km, 1.3m at low tide and 1.6m at high tide.  Sometimes we give them a 2-hour block and we see how many laps they can swim.

“Maybe we have made a little bit of a difference promoting water safety and have given children opportunities.”

Iki Tuitavake from the Hukula Swim Club qualified and went to the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas last year.

Rochelle and the Hakula Swim Club certainly prove that you don’t need all the bells and whistles, but with consistent effort and committment small swim clubs can making a difference.


Rochelle with her two children.

You can follow the Hukula Swim Club on FaceBook  Click Here


Psych Sheets for the Zonal Juniors

Here are the psych sheets for the 2018 Zonal Juniors. Take plenty of pool side snacks and activities, it's going to be a massive few days.

We're lucky to have Angela Bourke (from St Peter's) acting as our Regional Manager, and our Hub Head Coach, Darren Ward, will be wandering around pool deck too - make sure you introduce yourselves.

Good luck everyone!

January 2018

120 Juniors to represent the Waikato

It's just over two weeks until our 120 strong Waikato Team heads to the 2018 Aquaknights Zonal Juniors meet and we're excited to be able to announce the team here.

Good luck to all these swimmers and we look forward to seeing some fantastic results from this meet.

Congratulations Hannah

After a great showing at the Australian Open Water Champs, St Peter's Hannah Blackwood has been selected into the New Zealand Team for the 2018 World Junior Open Water Championships in Israel in September.

An awesome and very well deserved reward for Hannah and we wish her all the very best as she prepares for this event.

Open Water Results

Check out the full results from the 2018 NZ Open Water Champs - some great results from our Waikato Swimmers.

2018 NZ Open Water Champs

2018 kicks off with the New Zealand Open Water Champs which are being held in Taupo during the weekend of the 13th and 14th of January.  Check out the 31 swimmers from the Waikato who are taking part.  Good luck you lot !!

Madison Chapman Ace Swimming Club
Danyon Hardie Ace Swimming Club
Carlos Hardie Ace Swimming Club
Claudia Ashby Fairfield Swimming Club
Libby Cumming Fairfield Swimming Club
Lucy Farrell Fairfield Swimming Club
Ella Kennedy Fairfield Swimming Club
Hamish Kennedy Fairfield Swimming Club
Jaxyn Mihaka Fairfield Swimming Club
Kaitlyn Sosa Fairfield Swimming Club
Maddison Williams Fairfield Swimming Club
Jordyn Williams Fairfield Swimming Club
Hannah Knighton Hillcrest Swim Club
Jordan Rogers Matamata Swim Club
Dominic Fawkner St Paul's Swimming Club
Thomas Griffin St Paul's Swimming Club
Ben Littlejohn St Paul's Swimming Club
Sarah Miller St Paul's Swimming Club
Sam Ratima St Paul's Swimming Club
Charlize Tordoff St Paul's Swimming Club
Ciaran Watson St Paul's Swimming Club
Hannah Blackwood St Peter's Swimming Club
Moira Hunt St Peter's Swimming Club
Luke Mitchell St Peter's Swimming Club
William Prescott St Peter's Swimming Club
Thomas Raymond St Peter's Swimming Club
Maxwell Stubbs St Peter's Swimming Club
Tyler Tapper St Peter's Swimming Club
Caleb Thomas St Peter's Swimming Club
Shay Dickson Te Awamutu Swim Club
Keegan Dufty Thames Swim Club


December 2017

Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas

Just a quick note from the team at Swimming Waikato - to say thanks to everyone who is involved in swimming in our region.  Your enthusiasm, commitment and passion for swimming is a key reason why there's a bit of a buzz in the water in the Waikato !

We're looking forward to a great 2018 which kicks off with the arrival of our Hub Coach Darren Ward, and our Waikato Senior Championship meet which is part of our Hamilton Summer Meet.  Then the upgrade to Waterworld and the roll out of a few new initiatives that we're not quite ready to tell you about !

But before all this kicks off, we're sending our best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas to you, your families and your friends.

And in case you haven't seen it, click here for a wrap of our Very Merry Christmas Meet movie.

Kind regards

Cherie and Nanette, and our Board - Sean Lewis, Susan Barriball, Aly Fitch, Gavin Ion, Julie Richards and Craig Thomas


Swimming Auckland to ban Technical Swim Suits for junior swimmers

Here's a note from Swimming Auckland, advising of their decision to ban Technical Swim Suits for junior swimmers and their rationale behind this decision.

The Board of ASA has been in discussion for most of the year in regards to the use of Technical Swim Suits by Junior Swimmers.

After much deliberation and research, the Board of ASA has decided to restrict the use of Technical Swim Suits by competitors 12 years of age and under at ALL Auckland Championship, Level and Club meets.

This restriction will take effect as from 01st July 2018.

Technical suits will still be able to be worn by ASA 12/U swimmers at SNZ meets i.e. Junior Festival, Div II and NAGS.

A Technical Swim Suit is one that has bonded seams, kinetic tape or meshed seams.

Only swim suits that have all stitched seams will be permitted to be worn.

Swimming Victoria and Southern California have both introduced Tech Suit restrictions for Junior Swimmers and NCAA has also restricted the use of Tech Suits at dual college meets. Other regions in New Zealand are also in discussions around this.

Our sport is already expensive to participate in and the cost of technical suits makes them unattainable for many families. We do not want to add any extra financial pressure on parents with unnecessary purchases.

Technical swim suits are not designed for young swimmers. The manufacturers design these suits for older athletes. One of the main benefits of wearing a technical suit is for muscle compression. Children, who are not yet developed, are not impacted by this benefit. Swimmers cannot ‘grow into’ these suits.

Our aim is to build mentally-strong swimmers, confident in their own ability and training ethic rather than an athlete depending on a technical suit to get an improved result. There is no documented evidence that supports performance benefits of technical suits for athletes 12 years and under.

Further information and detail will come out in the New Year.