Going on recent results, it is clear Te Arawa Swimming's Leo English has a bright future in the sport.

Last weekend, 350 swimmers from all over the North Island competed at the Taupō Xlr8 swim meet and it was Leo who turned heads with a phenomenal performance.

Leo and his brother Finley, 11 - both Kaharoa School students - completed 12 races each during the two-day event. Leo won all his races and Finley had numerous top three finishes. Overall, Leo won his age group and Finley claimed a well deserved third place.

In addition to the results, the last event of the weekend was the 800m freestyle and for both Finley and Leo it was their debut in the distance. Finley had an outstanding swim finishing second in his age group.


Leo, swimming in an outside lane and battling through the 32 laps with a number of older swimmers, finished the event in a time of 11m 7.46s. It was clear that this was an outstanding swim but it was also a new Bay of Plenty record for nine-year-olds, previously held by Olympian Kane Radford. Leo broke the record, which had stood for 19 years, by 38 seconds. Further to that, his split in this event at the 400m mark was also under the Bay of Plenty record by three seconds.

At the same event, Rotorua Intermediate student Danielle Green, 12, and Mokoia Intermediate student Charlotte Rose, 11, both raced on day one and enjoyed success. Both improved their personal best times and are on the right track for the Bay of Plenty Swimming Championships in August.

Western Heights High School students Damian Robertson, 14, Adrian Greupink, 15, and para swimmer Bayley Conlon, 13, all made great progress. Damian and Bailey produced 100 per cent personal bests in their races while Adrian made his mark in the 50m freestyle, getting close to the Swim New Zealand qualifying time, and a third place ranking in his favoured 100m backstroke.

Last month, a small number of Te Arawa swimmers competed at the Waikato Winter Meet in Hamilton against a strong field of swimmers from Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland.

Despite being early in the season, Damian, Adrian and Bayley took on the challenge of long course racing and did not disappoint.

Out of six events, Damian broke five personal best times. Adrian improved on a number of events and was ranked in the top 10 in several races. Bailey, a para swimmer relatively new to the sport, made great improvement with PB times in all his events.

Te Arawa Swimming head coach Henk Greupink said the last month had been "very satisfying".

"Our numbers are growing, swimmers look great, confident and are training well while having fun doing it. Our swimming culture has changed in the past eight months or so. This culture is something I have worked very hard on and is crucial for me as a coach and as a club."


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