Swim sport in centre bid

BRITTANY PICKETT
Last updated 16:36 22/07/2014
Luciana Garcia
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
Invercargill Phoenix Syncronised Swimming Club head coach Luciana Garcia.

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Invercargill is bidding against Auckland to centralise the national synchronised swimming team in the city.

In May, the New Zealand Olympic Committee selection panel agreed if New Zealand won the Oceania Qualification spot, a team would be able to compete in the Olympic Games.

The team would contest the Oceania spot at the Fina World Championships in Kazan, Russia in July 2015 against Australia.

Invercargill Phoenix Syncronised Swimming Club head coach Luciana Garcia said having the team in Invercargill would be logistically better.

In Auckland, the team would have to share facilities with other high-performance teams and would be less likely to have access to trainers and other professionals in the way they would in Invercargill. All of the Phoenix team have gym memberships at World Gym, in Invercargill, and have access to a Sports Academy nutritionist.

It was likely to come down to how many girls from the national team were from the North Island and how many were from the south, Garcia said.

Centralising and fulltime training would mean continuing their educations through correspondence and working part-time for many of the swimmers.

The New Zealand team is yet to be finalised but 12 girls from Southland qualified to attend the Syncronised Swimming New Zealand High Performance Training Camp this week.

The second selection for the New Zealand team was being decided after the camp.

Fifteen athletes will be chosen for the New Zealand squad. The Southland athletes would have strong competition from other regions. "There's some strong swimmers from Tauranga.

"There are a lot of older swimmers so they have more experience," Garcia said.

However, Southland had the most athletes in the selection process, she said.

Twelve swimmers would compete at the world championships, while nine would compete at the Olympics. "Many of these girls are still quite young, it will give them a great experience for 2020 [Olympics]," Garcia said.

Retired Southland swimmer Kirsten Anderson is coming out of retirement to trial for the NZ team in November, she said.

Anderson was placed 29th in the solo technical event at the Fina World Swimming Championships in Barcelona last year.

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- Invercargill Eye

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