Members of the Bay of Islands Special Olympics team stood out at a swim carnival at Kawakawa last weekend which drew teams from as far south as the Waikato.

Well-known Bay of Islands swimming coach Karen Markin noted the hosting team eventually walked away with seven golds, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals.

Sarasin Ben was the overall standout, winning gold medals in the 25m breaststroke, the 25m backstroke and the 4x25m medley relay, having teamed up with Chris Newhouse, Zadkeil Beasley Tango and Tony Pakura.

Newhouse won 25m freestyle gold; Tango had three bronzes in 25m backstroke and 25m and 50m freestyle events; and Pakura won gold in the 25m butterfly and silver in the 100m freestyle.


"Sooo proud of them all!" Markin said, adding that the Kawakawa carnival would likely be the final meet for these athletes before the team heads to Wellington for the Special Olympics National Summer Games at the end of November.

Bay of Islands Special Olympics Club swimming team members were:

Heat Kelsey, Lani Maree Wallace, Aloha Morgan, Jasmine Lawrence, Tony Pakura, George King, Sarasin Ben and Denise Cameron (who train under Denise Pure and Natasha King at Kaitaia).

Te Waipuke Tohu, Adam Horsefall, Alex Goldsack, Daniel Casbolt, Zadkeil Beasley Tango, Rachel Harvie, Chris Newhouse (who train under Karen Markin along with Taunaha Smith, Ann Robinson, Rachel Bray, Anika West and Steph Godsiff at Kawakawa).

The team's manager is Nicole Grimme.