Northland's best go stroke for stroke with rest

By Cameron Leslie

This weekend Northland's top swimmers are slugging it out with the best junior age-groupers around New Zealand.

Northland's 29-strong squad, made up only of swimmers 12-years-and-under, kicks off this morning in Auckland.

Mia Gordon, 10, Samantha Bailey, 11, and Ellie Eastwood, 12, stand the best chance of the Northlanders picking up medals, with all of them having rankings in the top five.

Eastwood and Bailey will be looking to add to their New Zealand Junior medals, which they have six and two of respectively.

Bailey and Gordon go into the championships with the highest rankings, of second in the 100m butterfly and 200m breaststroke.

Other Northlanders ranked in the top 10 are 10-year-olds Jeremy Elliot, of Bay of Islands, and Tai Murray, of Nga Papahu.

Of Northland's 29, 18 are girls with 15 of the total being from the Whangarei District, 12 from Far North, and 2 from Kaipara.

The championships consist of three sessions, beginning at 9am this morning and concluding tomorrow afternoon. The New Zealand Juniors will also run an event in Wellington simultaneously with the Auckland event to save costs of travelling to a central venue, times are then merged on to a computer to determine winners.

Northwave coach Monica Cooper said this weekend's racing should be good because there were a number of swimmers around the country with close times.

Northland swimmers who have qualified are as follows:

Nga Papahu Swimming Club: Nalani Karena-Waenga, Harry Larkin, Kadin Bullen, Henare Cherrington, Denique Jones and Tai Murray;

Northwave Swimming Club: Seth Faoagali, Mia Gordon, Annabell Simpson, Ellie Eastwood and Ciara Smith;

Bay of Islands Swimming Club: Ruby Murray, Logan Gaualofa, Bryna McCondach, Jeremy Elliott and Khayshia Beckman;

Whangarei Swimming Club: Olivia Lengyel, Jerry Hanrahan, Sam Bailey, Ariel Kelman and Hayley Donovan;

Bream Bay Swimming Club: Ellie Swanson, Paul Linton and Jordan Carswell;

Kaitaia Swimming Club: Ebony Margison;

Manaia Swimming Club: Matariki Moetara and Caitlin Ahlers;

Dargaville Swimming Club: Aarai Makoare and Braedyn Hutchinson-Walters

- Northern Advocate

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