2016 SNZ National Age Group Championships
Months of dedication and hard work were put to the test as our Team of 9 Nelson South swimmers headed to Wellington to compete at the pinnacle age group swimming event on the calendar: 2016 SNZ National Age Group Championships. Coach Dan Padial reports on a successful week of swimming.
SNZ National Age Groups 2016
Venue: Kilbirnie, Wellington
Date: 18th-22nd April 2016
Team: Matai McGuinniety, Clara Foster, Libby Neill, Oliver Stark, Daniel Trevurza, Georgie Trengrove, Sam Trevurza and congratulations to Ruby-Lou Stuart and Kaleb Johnston for making their first NAGs competition.
We had nine swimmers go to National Age Groups this year and we came home with a bundle of PB’s, top 10 finishes, and medals. Nelson South once again showed it is one of the strongest provincial clubs in the country, finishing 24th in New Zealand out of more than 70 clubs, 5th in the South island, and 1st in Nelson Marlborough. What made this result even more impressive is that we were five of our senior swimmers down from last year who have now moved on.
What really makes a team successful? Is it the number of medals the team takes home, the number of top 10 placings, the number of Nelson Marlborough records broken, the number of qualified events, or the level of improvement seen in our swimmers results?
For me as the coach of this year’s national age group swimmers, it’s a bit of everything. Of course I loved to see Matai take gold and bronze medals, Clara two silver and a bronze, Georgie a bronze, and Sam a bronze. It was certainly a very proud moment. For me it’s exciting to see our swimmers qualify for finals and work on their racing strategies between the morning and evenings sessions. We had 25 finals and top 10 finishes. A highlight for me was seeing Clara and Georgie battle it out in lanes 5 and 6 over the 100m breastroke final where they took home silver and bronze respectively. For a small club, it is not often to see two of our swimmers in the same final.
For many swimmers it’s a big achievement just to qualify for NAGs, and for me, it is important to see these swimmers finish their competition on a high. My hope for all of our swimmers is to see an improvement throughout the season. I want the swimmers finishing with their biggest performance, and achieving a personal best as a bonus. I was particularly impressed with the number of PB’s and big individual swims this year. With Matai and Georgie taking almost 20 seconds each off their PB’s, this was an impressive way to end their season.
Training for a major meet like NAGs takes time and requires many elements. Through the training season, coaches aim to put the building blocks together to enable the swimmers to perform at their best and ‘peak’ in key events. It’s not an easy process, with many factors and hurdles presenting themselves throughout the training year. As coaches, we endeavour to help and act as a ‘GPS system’ for our swimmers, trying to guide them to their goals with our skills, knowledge, and experience. Admittedly, we don’t know it all, but like all sports, swimming is constantly evolving and growing. Training practices have to be flexible and move with the times. It is important for us to adapt and to be prepared to change the training when needed. For the swimmers and parents, it is important for them to trust the training and coaching and to commit to it fully with the belief that their goals will come. Every swimmer has to deal with good and bad performances. The swimmers, coaches, and parents must remember that this is part of the training process. With trust, belief, commitment, and perseverance, the results and goals will come. Remember, training is a process and takes time. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves what is important – is it improving our swimming or just the results? For the best results, improving our swimming must come first.
I look forward to seeing the NAGs team in 2017!
Huge thanks to Pub Charity for the very generous support they provided for our NAGs team - it is very much appreciated.