Swimming: Regional swimmers hold great promise

By Cameron Leslie

Northland's top age group swimmers hit Wellington's waters today aiming to bring home a bunch of medals from the New Zealand age group championships.

Northland's 14-strong team features five top-10 ranked swimmers, headlined by Youth Olympian Melita Raravula.

Raravula is ranked first in the girls' 16-years age group for all three of the butterfly events - 50m, 100m and 200m. Raravula will also be pushing hard for gold in both the 50m and 200m breaststroke events, where she is ranked third.

Following close behind her is fellow Northwave swimmer Freyah Ruri. Ruri has an outstanding seven top five rankings, and is ranked in the top-10 in all 10 of her events in the girls' 14-years age group.

Ruri will be aiming for gold in the 200m backstroke, which she has a first ranking in, the 50m backstroke and the 200m butterfly, where she is placed third in both.

Also on Ruri's radar will be the 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke and the 400m freestyle, all fourth rankings.

On top of all of that, she has a fifth ranking in the 100m butterfly and is ranked in the top-10 in the 100m freestyle, the 200 individual medley, and the 200m freestyle.

Fellow Northwave club mates with top five rankings are 13-year-old Callum Prime and 12-year-old Ellie Eastwood, who will both be swimming at the age group championships for the first time.

Prime will be on the hunt for medals, being ranked second in the 200m backstroke, fourth in the 100m backstroke and ninth in the 50m backstroke.

Eastwood is ranked fifth for the 50m breaststroke in the 12/13-year-old age group, sixth in the 100m breaststroke and eighth in the 200m breaststroke.

Although only 12, Eastwood is able to attend under a new rule established this year by Swimming New Zealand where 12-year-olds who attain the 13-year-old qualifying standard are allowed to compete.

The championships start today and conclude on Saturday, with heats scheduled for the mornings and finals at night.

Other swimmers who will compete include Northwave's Haydn Jurisich, 17; David Van der Star, 16; Cheyenne Field, 15; Finn Smith, 15; Josh Young, 14; Hayley McIntosh, 13; Nga Papahu's Heremaia Murray, 13; Bay of Islands' Bailey Maihi, 15 and Bream Bay's David Platt, 16.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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