Don't panic Hawke's Bay swimming fans ... New Zealand representative Julian Layton knows what he's doing.
Earlier this year yours truly received several texts from knowledgeable swimming folk questioning the logic behind Layton's decision to dabble in open water swimming. Layton, 17, did a couple of 10km swims and was also the first swimmer out of the water in the annual Tremains Triathlon.
"Pool swimming is still the priority. I've been doing open water swimming for the past three years ... it breaks the monotony of pool swimming and is a different kind of racing," Layton explained.
The Napier Boys' High School Year 13 student's open water stints haven't stopped him from being selected in the New Zealand Trans Tasman Tri-Series team, which will compete in Australia in July, for the second time. Layton will join his Greendale clubmate JoMari Meyer and Heretaunga Sundevil Naomi Smit as Hawke's Bay reps in the 24-strong team.
Layton, who has been a competitive swimmer for the past 10 years, will focus on his specialist events, 400m individual medley and 200m breaststroke, during the series which involves meets in Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.
"When I went in 2010 I just focused on the 200 breaststroke and got some top three placings in personal best times. This time I will strive for some wins ... I'll be more prepared having been there before," Layton said.
The cityfitness-sponsored Layton has been training up to 20 hours a week in the pool and up to four hours in the gym since the team was announced. His March national age group championship haul in Wellington included a gold in the 200m breaststroke, silvers in his 100m breaststroke, 200m and 400m individual medley finals and bronze in his 50m breaststroke final.
A big fan of US sensation Michael Phelps, Layton, has a PB time of 4m 34s for the 400IM and 2m 21s for the 200 breaststroke in a 50m pool.
Fifteen-year-old Woodford House Year 11 student, Meyer competes in the series for the first time. She has been a competitive swimmer for four years and won gold in her 100m and 200m backstroke finals in Wellington. She also finished 11th in the 200m backstroke at the Auckland-hosted open nationals in a PB of 2m 19s.
"I'll be aiming for PBs in the 100m backstroke and hopefully the 200m backstroke in Australia," Meyer said.
Naomi Smit declined to be featured in this article as she will represent the North Shore club in Australia.