Championships under way at Splash Palace
The 2013 Southland Swimming Championships got under way at the Splash Palace pool last night.
The 50m and 800m distance races were held in session one of the meet, which runs through to Sunday night.
From today, morning and night sessions will be held each day in what is a big meet for Southland swimming.
Among the entrants are 36 visiting swimmers from Canterbury.
The meet had traditionally been held in January but has been changed in recent years to a December meet, which has had a positive impact in swimmer turnout, Southland coach Jeremy Duncan said.
"It was generally in January previously, and kids would have a big holiday over Christmas and whatnot so we've put in December so we can try and get kids qualifying times for national meets before they go away. It allows kids to have a break over Christmas; we're trying to keep them in the sport longer. When we first did that, numbers went down a bit but they are coming back up now. It's getting bigger and bigger."
Michael Findlay will take part in the Southland championships before on Monday he heads to Australia to train and compete for two weeks.
He will train with Australian coach Matt Brown before competing at the Queensland championships.
Duncan said it was important Findlay kept improving.
"Mike's got to keep improving, We talk about attacking the gap and he's capable of mixing it with the best sprinters in New Zealand he just has to keep improving quicker than they are."
- The Southland Times