Triumph over setback

BY ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 10:46 30/10/2012
30-KPN-swimWEB

SWIM STARS: Tawa Swimming Club members Callum Sinclair, 15, Katie Trott, 13, Nicola Trott, 17, and Joel Crampton, 10, came away from recent short course championships with fistfuls of medals, despite not having a club pool to train in for a year.

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Tawa's swimmers may have been homeless for a year but the lack of a pool hasn't affected their form - the suburb's athletes won fistfuls of medals at recent regional and national tournaments.

Tawa Swimming Club sent 35 swimmers to the Wellington regional short course championships in September, and a squad of nine to the nationals earlier this month. The club came fifth out of 22 clubs at the regionals, increased its medal tally by 20 per cent from 2011, and recorded a slew of personal bests.

At the nationals at Kilbirnie's Aquatic Centre, Callum Sinclair won gold in the 15-year-old 1500m freestyle and Katie Trott won three bronze medals in the 13-year-old girls' 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly. Tawa came 33rd of 83 teams overall.

"I'm very, very pleased," coach Jason McPhee says.

He describes his swimmers as talented, dedicated and determined to succeed. Many train 10 times a week.

While Mr McPhee says a talented and driven swimmer needs very little intervention from a coach, his own efforts this year earned him Swim Wellington's 2012 Junior Coach of the Year title.

The club has achieved all this without a pool to call their own - Tawa Pool has been closed since last October for a makeover and earthquake strengthening. It has been a frustrating year, with the pool due to open in April and then September, but delayed each time, he says. The pool will reopen on November 12.

It will be wonderful having clubrooms and dry land training facilities again, Mr McPhee says, but most importantly the heart of the club will return.

"That's home."

Swimmers have split their time this year between the Arena Aquatic Centre and Keith Spry Pool in Johnsonville, often cramped into just two lanes.

A weaker club might have lost members, but Mr McPhee says the club's dedicated swimmers and parents have gone the extra mile to make the best of a bad situation.

Nicola Trott, 17, trains every day with her sister Katie, and says the travelling has been annoying but not too bad. Both are looking forward to getting back into their home waters.

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