The SNZ National Age Group Championships is the pinnacle age group event for NZ swimmers. This year Nelson South took a team of 12 to Wellington. Coach Dan Padial reported on what was an outstanding week of swimming.
2015 NZ Age Group Championships
Kilbirnie Pool, Wellington
5th – 9th May 2015
Swimmers: Luke Kelly, Eddie Neill, Pip Dwyer, Sam Trevurza, Ellie Rukuwai, Bailee Spriggs, Oliver Stark, Matai McGuinnety, Clara Foster, Libby Neill, Daniel Trevurza and Georgie Trengrove
Coach: Dan Padial
Team support: Paula and Garry Spriggs, Carl Stark and Fiona Burns, Susie Foster, Cherie Trevurza, Hamish Neill and Sali Matthews
The NZ National Age Groups (aka NAGs) have a lot of kudos. For our swimmers it’s the meet that everyone wants to go to and do well at. The road to NAGs can be bumpy, easy for some, but a challenge for most. The opportunity to rub shoulders with New Zealand’s top 12 to 18 year olds is full of excitement and accolade. It’s a great chance for our swimmers to see how the rest of the country swims.
I was fortunate to go to this meet and witness some fantastic performances from our NAGs team. I can honestly say that it was the most exciting meet that I have been to. The lead up to the competition was very positive with the team stepping up their training and working hard. For a coach, it is exciting to take swimmers to national qualifying meets, work on their race strategy, watch them stick to the plan and then see it work. Performances such as Clara in the 100m Br, Ellie in the 200m Br and Bailee in the 800m Fr are just a few of the outstanding performances that were raced with strategy in mind.
During the five days at the Kilbirnie pool in Wellington, we watched many talented swimmers break New Zealand records and achieve world junior qualifying times. Our small team of 12 also got to sit amongst the country’s big city clubs and although they had size on their side, we showed that we could ‘punch’ well above our weight and compete with the best.
Swimming is about the pursuit of speed and efficiency. A swimmer is looking to move through the water as fast as possible. This requires technique, physical strength and endurance, mental preparation, racing strategy and lots of desire. At NAGs these factors were all tested. You do not take gold or even make a final by chance. There are too many others looking to do the same. A NAGS swimmer must be physically and mentally race ready. They need to be at their season’s peak.
The club finished 14th out of more than ninety clubs and third for the South Island. To make top 20 in the country is an impressive result and not easy to do. Our success can be credited to our strong coaching team, our supportive and organised club committee and our fantastic club spirit. We are lucky that we have had so many people supporting our top swimmers. For those swimmers that are not at NAGs age or for those that didn’t make the qualifying times, remember that you are part of the medals that we took home and the points that we achieved. Our top swimmers need you and we thank everyone for their support, whether it be chasing and pushing our NAGs swimmers in training or keeping up with the team’s performance on Facebook or Instagram. Their performances also reflect on you. We hope that those of you that didn’t make it this year, push hard over the next 12 months and make the 2016 NAGs team.
4 Gold medals
5 Silver medals
1 Bronze medal
5 4th placings (most just missing the bronze)
32 top 10 placings (making finals)
5 Open Nelson Marlborough records
18 Nelson Marlborough age group records
In excess of 35 PB’s broken / smashed! (I lost count of the long course and converted long course PB’s broken)
439 Club Points (14th overall)
Well done Nelson South.