Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Swimming: Mosse back in NZ for world masters

Anthony Mosses
Anthony Mosses

You can take the boy out of Auckland ... but at some point he'll want to make one more splash in home waters.

Kiwi swimming great Anthony Mosse will return to the scene of his final triumph - and his last major competitive race - at the World Masters Games in his old hometown of Auckland next April.

The Hong Kong-born, King's College-educated Mosse - the world-class butterfly exponent who won bronze at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and a world championships silver medal previous to that - quit swimming after snaring the 200m gold at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.

"I really did step away at that point - a bathtub had too much water in it for me," the 51-year-old told the Weekend Herald from his home in San Francisco. "But I do look back on my competitive career very fondly.

"The thing I've missed is the competition, that adrenalin rush before a race, standing behind the blocks contemplating what's about to happen.

"You really enjoy those moments when you are well prepared and ready to move, and for most of my career I was well prepared.

"When you are ready to stand up in the Speedos and be judged on success and failure by 1/100ths of a second, it is pretty overwhelming stuff. They are great memories."

Mosse, who has mainly lived in the States since 1984, is married to Gail, an American lawyer. They have two children - Elena, 17, and Ryan, 14. Stanford University studies led to a life in the corporate world and Mosse - whose late father Peter was a pilot - is vice-president of finance and treasurer for Virgin America, which is going through a $2 billion-plus sale to Alaska Air Group.

About 15 years ago, Mosse started training again, has found a particular love for open water races, and competed at the world masters swimming championships at Stanford 10 years ago.

Mosse - who has family including his mother Joy in Auckland - intends lining up in the butterfly, with a relay team (former New Zealand breaststroke specialist Richard Lockhart is the other confirmed starter) and do an ocean event at the masters games.

He won't return to the exact scene of his Commonwealth Games triumph in Henderson - the WMG swimming will be held at the AUT Millennium in Albany.

And Mosse is not talking up his competitive urges either, preferring instead to use his name to encourage others to take part in the masters, which is for serious and social competitors in various age brackets. In most sports, the minimum age is 35, although for swimming it is 25.

Mosse, a WMG ambassador, said: "I took a quick look at the 1990 Commonwealth Games page and there were 2000 athletes from 55 countries in 10 sports ... these games will have 25,000 athletes from 100 countries in 28 sports. There is no criteria for entry other than age. It is going to be massive.

"I've been drawn to it because it gives me a reason to get back in shape and there's a social aspect. And I'm promoting Auckland, a place I love.

"It's an opportunity for people to visit one of the world's most beautiful countries and most livable cities."

- NZ Herald

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