Tauranga sailor Sam Meech will join sister Molly at the Rio Olympics as part of New Zealand's Olympic sailing team.

Meech, 25, and Wellington's Josh Junior (Finn class) were named yesterday as the final members of the 12-strong sailing team. Meech will compete in the Laser class in what will be his first Olympics.

In Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, for the 2016 Laser World Championships that start tomorrow, Meech heard about his selection a few days before the official announcement.

"It feels fantastic," he said.


"It's been a bit of a nervous wait to find out because it was such a close selection."

A series of good performances including a silver medal at Sailing World Cup Hyeres in April and a bronze medal at Sailing World Cup Miami in January augured well for selection.

"I'm really happy with the way I sailed this year and I thought I'd put myself in a good position, but you're always a bit nervous until you hear."

He is also relieved to match his sister's achievement of being named in the team. She will partner Auckland's Alexandra Maloney in the 49erFX women's skiff.

"Obviously there's a bit of family rivalry there, so it's nice to catch up with her. Our parents were with me during the last regatta [Hyeres] so I think they were just as nervous as I was."

After the worlds in Mexico that wrap up next Wednesday, Meech will return to New Zealand then fly to the UK for the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Weymouth in mid-June.

"Then it's back home and then we're going to do some training in Rio to lead up to the Olympics."

It won't be his first time in the waters where the Olympic yachting will take place.


"I've been to Rio a few times trying to get used to it. It's a really tricky place to sail so I need to get to know the conditions."

As well as the siblings, Peter Burling (with Blair Tuke in the 49er men's skiff) and Jason Saunders (in the Nacre 17 mixed gender multihull) are part of the Olympic team, all four making their way through Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club.

"The whole team get on really well, but it's fantastic to have so many people from Tauranga - we've known each other since we were kids and grown up together."

It was while sailing for the club that Meech's Olympic dream began to take shape.

"I had heard about people going to the Olympics, but the more sailing I did, the more I realised how important it was for sailing in New Zealand. So for the last five or six years it's what I've been working towards."

NZL Sailing Team Laser squad coach Mark Howards will support Meech in the build-up to and during the Olympic Games.


"The NZL Sailing Team sailors all started out at grass-roots yacht clubs around the country and with commitment, dedication and drive have risen to be world-class athletes. They work hard in the gym, train long hours on the water and are supported by great coaches," he said.

"Being named to represent New Zealand at Rio 2016 means that these sailors have demonstrated, through their performances on the world stage, they're on track and in form to medal. They have all done everything possible to reach the high standards required for selection to the New Zealand Olympic Team."

The Olympic Games take place from August 5-21.