Tauranga athletes have returned home from a major overseas tournament with medals after representing their country in Singapore.
Karlina Steiner, Eden Worsley and Isobel Pettit were part of the first New Zealand Development team to compete in the Singapore Open. They competed against 13 teams from Singapore, Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka and won silver in the open free combination team which featured all 10 swimmers.
Tauranga-based head coach Suzanne Ribeiro had only positive things to say about the experience.
"These athletes have been training together every school holidays for the last 18 months. The commitment from both them and their parents has been wonderful. They range in age from 12 to 18, and come from three clubs across New Zealand. Synchro is a team sport. So while you can practise on your own the challenge is in making the most of the time you have together to mould them as a tight team.
"The results speak for themselves, they swam awesomely and really deserved their silver medal placing."
Synchro Swim New Zealand introduced development squads this year for the first time, with the goal of building teams to represent New Zealand at Junior World Championships and World Championships with qualifying for the Olympics at some stage in the future the ultimate goal.
"We hope these athletes will remain in our development system and inspire others to follow in their footsteps," said Tauranga's SSNZ chairperson Shirley Hooper.
Two of the Tauranga swimmers Eden Worsley and Isobel Pettit, who were awarded BayTrust Scholarships, proved worthy of that investment after winning a gold medal in the junior duet category. Their routine, inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean, impressed the judges and made them clear winners on the day.
"This is our first international competition with this routine and it was a real buzz to win gold. Isobel and I had to get special permission to sit our NCEA exams earlier so we could travel with the team — it was well worth it. We can't wait for next year and the opportunities it will bring," Worsley said.