Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Swimming: Young swimmers thrive

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Papamoa swimmers, back, from left, Hayley Dawson, Ethan Whale, Kasha Stokes. Front, Zyleika Pratt-Smith, Talitha McEwan, and Tegan Sloan. Photo / Andrew Warner
Papamoa swimmers, back, from left, Hayley Dawson, Ethan Whale, Kasha Stokes. Front, Zyleika Pratt-Smith, Talitha McEwan, and Tegan Sloan. Photo / Andrew Warner

Papamoa Swimming Club continues to build a strong reputation at regional and national swim events.

Following a clean sweep at the Bay of Plenty championships where all the club's swimmers medalled, there was further success at the Xcelerate Your Points meet in Taupo last weekend.

The squad excelled particularly in the 9, 10, 11 and 12 age groups.

Kasha Stokes broke two Bay of Plenty records in the 50 and 100 backstroke, with Kayla Baker, Jessica Clark and Joseph Terry (who all qualified for Division 2 earlier this year) doing well.

In the older divisions Ethan Whale won gold in the 50 freestyle and qualified for the National Age Group (NAGS) champs, where he will also compete for the Bay of Plenty relay team, while Anna Burnett and Olivia Chatfield also qualified for NAGS.

It is a continuation of the club's excellent performances over the past six months.

Zyleika Pratt-Smith, Kasha Stokes, Tegan Sloan and Talitha McEwan attended the NZ Junior Championships earlier in the year and all set personal best times.

Zyleika won gold medals in the 8-and-under age group in the 50 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, as well as silver medals in the 50 freestyle, 200 backstroke and 100 freestyle.

Talitha, Zyleika and Kasha have also broken Bay of Plenty records this year.

Papamoa's head coach Mike Le Cocq is into his 10th year at the club, which operates from Papamoa School's outdoor pool in the summer and Baywave in the winter.

"I have watched it grow from one competitive swimmer to having 12 national swimmers this year," he said.

"We have grown the club from being part-time to full-time and we have an awesome group of kids. I am very proud of them. It is a lot of hard work.

"I am not your typical coach that stands there with a whip every day. I want to get to know the kids outside of swimming as well."

Le Cocq says Zyleika, 8, is one to watch in the future.

"She has been with us a year and a bit. She is very, very good and very quick through the water. She does synchro as well and has broken a number of Bay records this year.

"She qualified for NAGS as a 12-year-old and already has New Zealand Short Course times and is not far off a New Zealand record."

"We have also turned around the financial health of the club through getting the community involved and applying for funding.

"Pak'nSave Papamoa is a huge part of our club. They fund all our Learn to Swim programme coaches and we had 150 kids involved last year."

- Information: Mike Le Cocq, ph 027 606 9837.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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