Top young swimmers chased South Island Secondary Schools championship titles at Stadium 2000 in Blenheim recently.
Among Marlborough competitors was 15-year-old Toby Lloyd, of Blenheim, who was set on earning a place in the short-course nationals in Wellington at the end of September.
He was pleased with his performance in his signature race, the 200 metre butterfly, which should give him the points needed to get to the short-course nationals for the second year running.
"I was just off my personal best which is a good thing because I don't want to be peaking yet," he said. "I followed my coach's advice and stayed relaxed."
Being home-schooled by his mother Linda Lloyd fitted in well with his swimming training.
Despite not going to school he had plenty of friends, especially fellow swimmers.
Andy Adair, of Nelson, coaches Toby as well as top Marlborough schoolgirl swimmer Sara Gane who trains with him in the mornings.
Toby said he started swimming at Stadium 2000 as a youngster and had worked his way up through the system, joining a training squad aged about 11.
He is looking forward to turning 16 and being able to pass on some of the skills he had learned as a teacher.
Top swimmer Cassandra Wright, who trained at Jellie Park pool in Christchurch, said the 25m Blenheim pool was great to compete in.
The setting felt very spacious and reminded her of the QEII complex in Christchurch, closed since the earthquakes.
After collecting first placings in long course 50 and 100m backstroke this year, and short course 50 and 100m backstroke and the 100m individual medley, the 15-year-old has her heart set on trialling for a place in the New Zealand team for the 2004 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"I'll have to spend a lot more hours in the pool before then."
The Marlborough Express