Phoenix synchro swimmers rises to the top
The Invercargill-based team represented New Zealand in the free combination team event, one of the most popular events in synchronised swimming with its solos, duets, trios, lifts and throws.
Head coach Luciana Garcia had opted for a new routine based on the soundtrack for the movie Hocus Pocus.
"Four of the athletes were new to the Aquafern Squad, but they fitted into the team very quickly and managed the training loads really well," Garcia said.
About 40 swimmers from New Zealand and Australia were participating across the different events, including the figures, solos, duets and combination team.
Competing under the New Zealand South banner, the Aquaferns were the second team in action and managed to edge out their rivals in one of the tightest competitions in recent years, with less than a point separating them from the second New Zealand team and Australia.
Earlier in the competition, Southland's Aleisha Braven, who also qualified individually as a New Zealand representative for the junior figures event, placed fifth, less than a point behind first.
Two other Phoenix swimmers, Ellie Pritchard and Michaela Belworthy, participated on the 13-14-15 age group figures event as pre-swimmers. Both improved on their scores from the national championships.
Four Phoenix Synchro officials were appointed as judges for the Oceania Championships; Michelle Anderson, Trudy Shepard, Kirstin Anderson and Rhiannon Fibbens.
Phoenix Synchro Southland swimmers representing New Zealand: Abby Hustler, Amy Strang, Aleisha Braven, Aleisha Elliotte, Anastasia Wilkes, Ellie Pritchard, Hayley Fibbens, Leticia Hart, Michaela Belworthy, Rebecca Adams, Scarlett Polley, coached by Luciana Garcia. Team manager Catherine Belworthy
- The Southland Times