Whangarei's multi-talented Cameron Leslie has been selected to make a splash at the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships next month.

The 28-year-old Paralympian has been selected for the New Zealand Para swimming team, to compete at the meet in Cairns, Australia, from August 9-13.

The team consists of nine para swimmers, including New Zealand's most decorated Paralympian Sophie Pascoe. They will be joined by Rio 2016 Paralympians Jesse Reynolds, Tupou Neiufi and Hamish McLean.

Para swimmers Christopher Arbuthnott and Celyn Edwards will return to Australia following a plethora of personal best times at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.


Bryall McPherson will make her return to international competition, while Amanda Lowry will make her international debut after only six months in the para swimming programme.

Leslie is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist who is well known for his talents in both swimming and wheelchair rugby. In August he has set himself a challenge of competing in pinnacle events for both sports, starting with the IWRF Wheelchair Rugby Championships and followed by the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships.

Leslie will focus on his favoured event, the men's 150m individual medley, at the championships.

Switching between wheelchair rugby and swimming is going to take some getting used to, said Leslie as "wheelchair rugby is quite tough on your body".

Paralympics New Zealand high-performance director Malcolm Humm said that they were thrilled with the quality of the team announced yesterday.

The last championship was held in 2014 in California where the New Zealand Para Swimming Team won 13 medals.

"This team will once again be aiming for multiple podium finishes as we build towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games."

The Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships is different to the Paralympics as only nations from the Pan Pacific can enter. Leslie said it was a lot smaller, but still had plenty of tough competition at the event.

Leslie has been living in Whangarei for the past two years, where he coaches at a local pool. His job makes it easy to train as he is able to jump in the pool after coaching, for his own training.

"It fits really well," Leslie said.

Some days are definitely not easy, said Leslie, as he has been aiming to break a world number one time at the championships.

Leslie is in America at a high-altitude training camp where he is 2100m above sea level, preparing for the championship.

This year marks Leslie's 12th year international swimming, he is hoping to continue with swimming as he already has his eyes on the next championship. However, he is going to take it "year by year."