A local team of synchronised swimmers will compete internationally for the first time at the end of this month.
Since winning a record haul of gold medals at the New Zealand Synchronised Swimming Nationals in Wellington last October, Tauranga Synchro will send a team to the Australian Nationals next week to see how the club performs at an international level.
Maya Lowans, Isobel Pettit, Zyleika Smith, Karlina Steiner, Kira Van Os and Eden Worsley will travel to Sydney, along with coach Julieta Diaz.
The girls will compete in solos, duets and an open team event.
It is the first time Tauranga Synchro has sent a team overseas.
"The girls have been working hard and training four days a week, and will continue to train right through the [school] holidays," Julieta says.
"This Australian competition is the perfect opportunity to test our level at an overseas event and to fine-tune before our annual North Islands event, which Tauranga is hosting in June this year," she says.
The ages of the girls range from 11 to 15.
"Although there will be tough competition, with over 180 entrants in the Australian Nationals, both from Australia and other international competitors, our girls are young talented swimmers with a good set of skills and I'm looking forward to seeing how well they can compete on an international scale," Julieta says.
Interest in synchro has grown considerably since the club's national success last year.
There are now 15 swimmers in the beginners' (Dolphin) level, who will perform a routine at North Islands in June.
Synchronised swimming combines swimming, dancing and gymnastics.
The girls can choose to perform as individuals, duets or in a team.
Turn to page 14 to see more photos of the Tauranga Synchro team in action. Beginners train at 9am at Baywave every Saturday morning during term time.