It was one of those joyful comebacks which went to plan and had the parents of Hawke's Bay swimmer Bobbi Gichard in tears.

"Mum and dad left the champs before the team for the world champs was announced. When I rang and told them I was selected they were both crying because they were so happy," Gichard, 17, said referring to parents Caroline and Dean.

Former Greendale swimmer Gichard, who represents Auckland's Howick Pakuranga club these days, has been selected in the New Zealand medley relay team for the world championship to be staged in Budapest from July 23-30. Her selection followed her two gold and one silver medal haul at the recent New Zealand Open championship in Auckland.
Gichard won gold in her 100 and 200m backstroke finals and silver in her 50m backstroke finals.

"My times were a bit slower than my personal bests but I still exceeded expectations. After the crazy year I had with different injuries last year I couldn't be happier. I recorded my fastest times for this year and this was my first taste of serious competition since last year's opens."


Last year Gichard had knee surgery and in her first meet back she broke her hand when touching the wall during a race.

"It was one of those weird freakish injuries. But I've built up and come back stronger and I'm close to 100 per cent again," Gichard said.

Budapest will be her second taste of a senior world championship and she also has two junior world championships on her CV.

"I was a bit gutted I didn't qualify for my individual events but I will still have the opportunity to swim in those over there," Gichard said.

There will be no more meetings for Gichard until the July trip. After a nine-day stint at home in Napier to recharge her batteries and shake off a bout of the flu Gichard will return to Auckland on Thursday to resume training with Northcote Pool-based former British and Chinese Olympic coach David Lyles who has been her coach since November last year.

Lyles replaced Jana Korbsova as her coach. Former Napier Girls' High School student and the 2015 HB Secondary Schools' Sportsperson of the Year award winner, Gichard, is in her third year in Auckland.

"There have been times when I questioned whether I had done the right thing going up there. This is the first year when I've felt it was definitely the right move. I've got a really good host family and a fantastic support crew around me," Gichard said.

"I did fulltime correspondence for a while but this year I'm doing my year 13 studies at Northcote College. It's a bit easier this year with my time management which is a lot better."


After just missing out on qualifying times for the Rio Olympics, qualifying for the 2020 Rio Olympics remains Gichard's major long-term goal but her more immediate one is qualifying for next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

"The qualifying times for the Gold Coast haven't come out yet. But I'm picking I will need a time around the 59s mark for the 100 back and something close to 2m 09s for the 200 back," Gichard said.

The NZ Open championships are traditionally the qualifying meet for the Commonwealth Games but because these will be held in April, the same time as the Commonwealth Games, swimmer have to nominate two meets to Swimming New Zealand where they will attempt to qualify.

"After this holiday I will sit down with my coach and talk about which meets we will nominate," Gichard added.

She will be one of 12 swimmers in the Kiwi team for Budapest. With an average age of 21 it is one of the youngest New Zealand teams for a world championship.

Gichard's long-time rival and fellow 17-year-old, Gabrielle Fa'amausili of Auckland's United club is the other teenager. The nine swimmers who gained individual qualification in the pool is the highest number since 2005.


"The quality of performances at the national championships was better than expectation and it was very pleasing especially from the young swimmers," Swimming New Zealand national head coach Jerry Olszewski said.

"The young swimmers like Gabrielle, Bobbi, Hayley McIntosh and Latacia Transom, who is based in Australia but just missed the team, and some younger male swimmers like Lewis Clareburt are exciting for the future," he added.