Tawa swimmers defy odds

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 10:03 01/11/2012
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 not having a pool has not affected their form - the club's athletes won fistfuls of medals at recent regional and national tournaments.

Tawa Swimming Club sent a team of 35 to the Wellington regional short course championships in September, and nine to the nationals a few weeks ago.

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 1500 metres freestyle and Katie Trott won bronze medals in the 13-year- old 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly. Tawa came 33rd of 83 teams overall.

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

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

Mr McPhee said a talented and driven swimmer needed little intervention from a coach, but his efforts this year earned him Swim Wellington's 2012 junior coach of the year award.

Tawa's swimmers have achieved their success without a pool to call their own - Tawa Pool has been closed for 13 months for a makeover and earthquake strengthening.

It had been a frustrating year, he said.

"It will be wonderful having clubrooms and dry land training facilities again," Mr McPhee said, "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 in Porirua and Keith Spry Pool in Johnsonville, often cramped into just two lanes.

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

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- The Wellingtonian

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