Northland's flagship swimming event is set to pit the province's best up and coming swimmers against each other in Dargaville.

The Northland Age Group Championships, starting tomorrow at Kauri Coast Community Pool, will see about 160 swimmers from 11 clubs take to the pool in the hopes of picking up top results.

As well as competing for medals and records at this carnival, swimmers can also make themselves eligible for Swimming Northland's awards.

The event features mostly Northland clubs however strong contingents from Roskill and Coast in Auckland will also compete.


Swimming Northland's Julie Paton said the day will be filled with exciting races that will put on a show for those who get along in support.

"There will be numerous highlights over the course of the carnival. The men's 50m free is usually good. There's the Crawford-Woodman relay [eight-member mixed age teams] with a shield for the winner which will be presented at the Swimming Northland awards," she said.

"Helena Gasson's and Ciara Smith's races will all be exciting to watch – also, I see that Helena is swimming in the mixed 14 year and over 200 free relay [event 19].

"It will be great, especially for the younger swimmers, to compete alongside an Olympian.

"The Coast club are staying on after the championships for a training camp based at the Dargaville pool and have invited Dargaville club swimmers to train along with them, so they're pretty excited about that."

The events will be run over five sessions across the weekend.

Paton said given this is the top event for the year, swimmers will be well placed to try to gain entry into national competitions.

"Because the swimmers have trained hard for this event they'll be at peak swimming fitness and have the best chance of making the qualifying times for national events.


"It's a long course pool and you really need long course times for the national events [apart from National Short Course Champs later in the year].

"Those national competitions are the junior festivals in February for younger swimmers 12 and under, Division II National Age Groups in Rotorua in March, National Age Groups in Auckland in April and NZ Opens in Auckland in July.

"NZ Opens is the qualifying event for the Pan Pacific Championships, the junior Pan Pacific Championships as well as the Youth Olympics, so swimmers will be wanting to compete there to have their shot at qualifying for a national team."

While swimmers will be expecting to get wet, spectators may think they'll be spared. However with the forecast looking gloomy over the weekend, attendees may want to bring a raincoat.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed for good weather – it's an outdoor pool so we just have to take whatever the weather gods throw at us and work with it."