Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Pros support future stars

Photo / Jason Dorday
Photo / Jason Dorday

Nine-year-old Natalie Burke has been leaving competitors in her wake and now the would-be Olympic swimmer is learning from the best.

She is one of 30 children in a three-day training camp this weekend with top swimmers Melissa Ingram, (pictured left with Natalie) and Moss Burmester, and triathlon champion Rick Wells.

They were selected from around the country after winning State Ocean Kids Swim events in Paihia, Wellington, Christchurch, Mt Maunganui and Auckland.

Natalie, who has wowed her coaches with her silky skills by winning five races at an inter-schools competition, is clear on what she wants to do when she grows up.

"I want to come home from the Olympics with a couple of gold medals," she says.

Olympic swimmer and Commonwealth Games medallist Ingram remembers spending 20 hours a week in the pool when she was just a little older than Natalie.

"I was pretty serious about my swimming and I loved going to swimming camps. The camaraderie and travelling to different locations as part of a team was an amazing experience."

Ingram is pleased to be giving something back to the sport, and believes Natalie and her team-mates are the Kiwi Olympians of the future.

The Super Swim Squad Camp, sponsored by Jetstar, is at the Tepid Baths in Auckland this weekend.

- Herald on Sunday

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