It takes more than a broken collar bone to keep Siobhan Terry out of the pool.

Last year the 18-year-old became Rotorua's first para swimmer to compete at the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships. She was born with a left clubfoot and wears a splint when out of the pool to improve flexibility in her ankle.

She was hard at work preparing for this year's open swimming championships, held in Auckland last week, when she broke her collar bone playing touch rugby.

Seven weeks out from the championships her immediate concern was how the injury would affect her swimming.

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"I was really nervous. As soon as I broke my collar bone I said 'can I still compete?'. That was the first thing I thought."

Terry put a lot of time and effort into rehabilitation to ensure she could still race.

She was still not 100 per cent for last week's championships, so she and coach Henk Greupink, of Te Arawa Swimming, had to re-assess her goals for the event. The focus shifted to making the most of the racing experience, rather than results.

Rotorua's Siobhan Terry overcame a broken collar bone to compete at the Swimming New Zealand Open Championships last week. Photo / Ben Fraser
Rotorua's Siobhan Terry overcame a broken collar bone to compete at the Swimming New Zealand Open Championships last week. Photo / Ben Fraser

She competed in the 400m, 200m, 100m and 50m freestyle and the 50m backstroke. Her best finish was fourth in the 50m backstroke.

"Considering the injury, I think I did pretty well. I didn't get any personal bests, but I was really close. It was actually just about competing at that point and it was a really fun experience," she said.

Greupink was impressed by the way Terry handled the setback.

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"She obviously had a few obstacles, that were not planned, but it is what it is. There are things in life you can change and things in life that you can't change, this was obviously one of the things you can't.

"I just simply wanted Siobhan to race, to be there among her peers and race as best as she could. It was rough for her, I could tell, but she handled it really well."

The pair will now focus on preparing for the New Zealand Short Course Championships in October.

"We've got three months of some really hard work. I think we need a lot of strengthening and high intensity work. We've had two years of beautiful swimming and making things look really pretty.

"A lot of these athletes started at a really young age - Siobhan knocked on the door when she was 16. She had a lot of catching up to do and now I know what she likes in her training and we have three months to do a lot of work, so when she gets on the blocks for those short distances she is ready.

"I want her to do a few more races leading up to that as well, just to get on the blocks and have that experience. Don't focus on the outcome, just focus on the experience," he said.

Greupink also took para swimmers Cuda Tawhai, 14, of Taupō, who has autism and Tauranga's Amanda Lowry, who is paralysed from the chest down, to the championships.

He said the number of para swimmers in New Zealand was increasing and there were now strong pathways for them to progress to higher honours.

"Annually a squad, which Siobhan can potentially qualify for, will travel to Australia to compete in the Victoria or Queensland State Championships. That's also a meet where they can get their international classification, should they take swimming further.

"Then next year you have the para swimming world champs, then there's the Paralympics. It's a really fast developing sport."