Youngsters get a chance at cash in Medley Skins

The St Peter's Swimming Academy will play host to a unique event which will boast one of the country's top swimming prize packets and hopefully lure some Olympic competitors.

The Medley Skins competition on December 1 will have a total cash prize pool of $10,000, split across four age grades.

It is hoped 300 to 400 swimmers will compete, and there has already been interest from Australia.

Academy president Simon Perry said they were stumping up with the cash to entice a quality field.

"It's really for the swimmers to get something out of it and to motivate them to work on their training and to raise the profile of the sport a little bit," he said, adding that the younger swimmers would benefit from being at the same meet as older swimmers.

"To have everyone together in one cauldron of swimming will be quite exciting."

The bulk of the prize money will be offset by entry fees and some academy sponsors will make up the difference.

Perry said the event, which features a dramatic "blind draw" for medley strokes, was "a little bit of an experiment" but it was hoped to become an annual fixture.

The St Peter's complex features a 25-metre 10-lane pool, and construction will begin soon on an additional 25-metre six-lane covered pool.

Last Saturday the academy held its summer meet and on Sunday had an event for novice swimmers, but next month's competition will be its most lavish.

In the morning session there will be 50m and 100m races for freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly, as well as a 200m freestyle race.

There are also four individual medley (Skins) events, with 100m races for 12 and under and 13-14 years categories, and 200m races for 15-16 and 17 and over categories.

The fastest 10 swimmers from each category will progress to the afternoon Skins finals.

The finals will comprise eight races, with the first four of them to be 50m of an individual stroke drawn blind by the meet director, something unique which Perry believed would encourage younger swimmers to work on all their strokes.

"Especially in the junior ranks, coaches like to see swimmers proficient in all strokes and generally you shouldn't be specialising until your late teens or 20. What we find is that a lot of New Zealand swimmers tend to specialise too early."

Tenth and ninth place are eliminated from the first final, eighth place from the second final, seventh place from the third final and sixth place from the fourth final.

The fifth, sixth and seventh finals will all be 100m races, with fifth place (who takes the lowest cash prize), fourth place and third place progressively eliminated.

The final race will pit two swimmers against each other, over 100m in the 12 and under and 13-14 years categories and over 200m in the 15-16 and 17 and over categories.

The winner of those races takes the trophy and top cash prize.

"Swimmers love money. The dollar signs, that's what motivates them," academy secretary Denise Balvert said.

Entries for the event close at 8pm on Thursday and can be made by email to

The cost is $7 for a single event and $20 for an individual medley (Skins) event. To be eligible for the Skins finals and prize money, swimmers must compete in an individual medley event plus a minimum of three additional session one events, therefore a minimum entry fee of $41.

Swimming retailer Swim T3 is on board as a sponsor of the competition and is providing a $20 voucher (for a minimum of a $60 purchase) to all Skins entrants, while also giving every Skins finalist a pair of Weapon Engine goggles.

Waikato Times