Shannon teenager and Raumati Raptors swimmer Rebecca Moynihan has a lot more medals to add to her collection.

Representing New Zealand for the first time at the Oceania Swimming Championships in Papua New Guinea, Moynihan triumphed with seven medals, only to return to New Zealand to get two more.

Rebecca, originally from Shannon, has been studying biochemistry in the USA (Florida Gulf Coast University) on a full scholarship.

Before that her parents made plenty of sacrifices to get her there. Rebecca said she's made a lot of progress as a swimmer during her first year in the US. She trains about 18 hours in the pool each week and does several hours weight training too. Her college team competes against other universities every fortnight, involving a lot of travel.

"I hoped to come away with a medal but I never expected seven."


"The warm climate in Florida made acclimatising easy for me and the school has great facilities. But at first it was all rather overwhelming. They provide great support though."
She said she started swimming competitively at the age of 10.

She won a silver in the 50m freestyle at Oceania, just 0.01 seconds behind first place.
It's her first individual medal representing New Zealand, something she describes as "really special".

She also got bronze for 100m freestyle, and helped the New Zealand team to three relay golds in the mixed 4x100 freestyle, the women's 4x100 medley and the mixed 4x50m freestyle, plus two silvers in the women's 4x100m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relays.
She enjoyed the whole experience, and the positive atmosphere.

"I hoped to come away with a medal but I never expected seven."

Held every two years, the Oceania Swimming Championships were at the end of June, featuring teams from Pacific nations and Australia. Moynihan, 19, is the first member of the Raumati Swimming Club to make a senior national team since the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

She described herself as a late developer who sets herself high standards.

"If you put your mind to something it can be done."

Moynihan flew straight from Port Moresby to Auckland to the New Zealand Open Championships, the pinnacle of the domestic competition calendar. There she won gold for 50m freestyle, and a bronze for 100m freestyle.

"It's been a massive couple of weeks. Overwhelming in a really positive way, with so much support from everyone.

"Now it's back into training for New Zealand Short Course Championships in October."

She will then return for her second year to Florida Gold Coast University on her full ride scholarship but will be home again in October for the New Zealand Short Course Championships.