From small beginnings just six years ago, Tauranga's synchronised swimming club has hit the big time, securing the services of one of the top 20 synchronised swimmers in the world as their new coach.

Julieta Diaz, from Rosaria in Argentina, finished 17th at the 2009 World Champs. When she retired from competitive swimming to take up coaching, she started first as a club coach before moving rapidly to coaching Argentina's national 13-15 years solo and duet swimmers.

A friend of Diaz' from Uruguay who coaches in Invercargill, mentioned Tauranga was looking for a new coach. Diaz was looking for a change, with Argentina's loss Tauranga's gain.

"We couldn't believe our luck when Julieta approached us," Tauranga Synchro chairwoman Shirley Hooper said. "She really has been a wonderful gift.


"She brings so much experience in skills, choreography and enthusiasm. And when she gets in the water to demonstrate a technique, the girls all stop, look and listen."

Tauranga Synchro club, based at Baywave, has a wide range of swimmers, from younger girls just starting out in the sport, aged from 8 and up).

"So long as you can swim you can easily learn the skills of synchro," Diaz said. "You just have to be prepared to train hard."

And at the top of the club, she provides great advice and guidance to Sarsha Younger, who recently competed in her second international event, representing New Zealand at the United States Open in Hawaii.

"In between I have a wonderful group of 12 to 16-year-olds working hard on their solos, duets and teams at the moment with next competition the nationals in Hamilton in two weeks," Diaz said.

Tauranga will be competing against clubs from all over New Zealand as well as teams from New Caledonia and Australia.

Last weekend the synchronised swimmers had a display at Baywave, while beyond the season Diaz is looking forward to summer at Mt Maunganui.

"I'm also really enjoying the Rugby World Cup - we're going up to watch the Pumas play the All Blacks this weekend [in the quarter-final]."