You could say everything went right for Tauhara College student Keira Allott when she headed to her first international swim meet.

Keira, 14, was at the South Australian Short Course Championships in Adelaide where she not only brought home medals from eight of her nine events, but set new personal best times in every event.

Keira competed in the 100m, 200m, 400m 800m and 1500m freestyle as well as the 100m and 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley.

In all, she brought home eight medals: two gold, four silver and two bronze. The one she is most proud of is a silver medal in the women's open age group 1500m freestyle.


It's also thought that Keira set new Bay of Plenty age group swimming records in the 1500m, 800m and 400m freestyle events. Taupō Swimming Club is awaiting official confirmation.

It was the best she's ever done in a swimming meet and a strong showing for a young swimmer who has only been doing the sport competitively for two years.

Keira says she thinks she did so well in Adelaide because she was well prepared and had trained hard. She felt relaxed and positive before each race. Everything came together perfectly and doing so well was a real confidence boost.

Keira Allott swimming in the individual medley in the South Australian Short Course Championships last month. Photo / Get Snapt
Keira Allott swimming in the individual medley in the South Australian Short Course Championships last month. Photo / Get Snapt

Keira, who is coached at Taupō Swimming Club by Peter McCallum, was invited to join Tauranga group Evolution Aquatics in Adelaide. The group travelled together and stayed at a local boarding school, but Keira represented Taupō.

She has been swimming since a young age but says initially, it wasn't her thing at all because she hated having to put her head under the water.

"When I was younger doing Learn to Swim one of my teachers took me aside to teach me to not panic when I'm swimming, and after a lot of practice it got easier."

When she was around nine or 10 years old, Keira says she started finding swimming really enjoyable and when she was 12 she decided to try out for water polo.

"I went down to the pool to try out for the water polo team and my coach pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to join them for a session and then asked if I wanted to join the [swim] squad."


Being a competitive swimmer doesn't mean doing things by halves. Keira trains eight times weekly: five mornings a week at 6am and Monday through Thursday afternoons for two hours.

Keira says swimming takes a lot of her time and doesn't leave room for much else. She's not often home until 6.30pm and by the time dinner and schoolwork are done, there's not much spare time before she has to be in bed at 9pm.

It might sound a big sacrifice but Keira says it's worth it.

"I don't really do much socialising because if I'm not training then I'm trying to get schoolwork done or trying to fit going to the gym in.

"I'm not a morning person but I do enjoy getting up early to get to training, I find it's good."

Her coach Peter McCallum says Keira's outstanding results have come from her training ethic and talent.

"I didn't see them as a surprise but a rather obvious progression on her way to bigger things," Peter says.

Keira says although swimming is competitive when it's race time, she's also made plenty of friends through the sport.

"I enjoy making new friends at the competitions. I've got quite a few friends from around the North Island who I like to socialise with at the competitions, getting to know them and racing them and seeing how I can improve along the way."

Keira's next big challenge is the New Zealand Secondary Schools Swimming Championships in Hamilton next month. Long term, she would like to make the New Zealand team for the world swimming championships or the junior international championships and says her goal is to just keep progressing.