Hundreds of competitive high school swimmers will descend on Hamilton’s Waterworld this weekend, when the refurbished facility hosts the 2019 NZ Secondary School Swimming Championships.
The four-day event at the Hamilton City Council-owned facility opens on the evening of Thursday 12 September, and runs through Sunday 15 September. More than 700 competitors will take to the water across five age groups and 49 swimming events totalling more than 4500 swims.
Stuart Davidson, the Council’s Aquatics Manager, says hosting the NZ Secondary School Swimming Championships reflects the importance of the multi-million-dollar investment made to refurbish and modernise Waterworld in 2018.
“There was a significant investment in pipes, filtration and pumps during the refurbishment project. We also needed to ensure we met FINA regulations for competitive swimming events, and having a refreshed and modernised complex certainly helps to secure these types of meetings,” Mr Davidson says.
“We want to be one of the ‘go-to’ venues for competitive swimming in New Zealand. This is very exciting for us: our venue will host some of New Zealand’s best young swimmers – and their coaches, families and supporters.”
Swimming New Zealand’s Events Manager Anthony Bowler says the modernisation of Waterworld was a factor in allocating the event to the facility.
“Thanks to recent pool upgrades, Swimming New Zealand is excited to showcase Waterworld as an attractive venue to visit,” Mr Bowler says. “Swimmers and spectators should expect to see a huge difference since the Championships were last held there in 2017.”
Mr Bowler says competitors will racing across the short course 25m distance. Swimmers to watch out for include Breana Crawford (Mt Albert Grammar), Tyrone Henry (Pakuranga College), Laura Littlejohn (Waikato Diocesan School) and Cameron Gray (Westlake Boys High School).
Diocesan School for Girls (Auckland) and Wellington College will be looking to defend the top Girls and Boys Trophies, and facing tough competition from the likes of Tauranga Boys High School, Waikato Diocesan School, Westlake Boys High School and Napier Girls High School. St Andrew’s College athletes will be hoping to go back to back and retain the Top Co-Ed School Trophy.
Mr Bowler says all races will be livestreamed free of charge and will be available to be viewed through Swimming New Zealand’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
The Waikato District Health Board has issued information on the current measles outbreak in the upper North Island. People showing symptoms of the disease – or who have been in contact with those who have been confirmed as having measles – are being urged not to attend large public events. Mr Bowler says organisers of the competition have also passed on measles-related information to competitors, coaches and schools.
Mr Davidson says the four-day event means restrictions on the availability of the 50m pool. Regular or casual lane swimmers who normally use Waterworld are urged to visit Gallagher Aquatic Centre while the competition is on.