The Rotorua Aquatic Centre is abuzz with swimmers from all over New Zealand, many of whom are fighting for a spot at the National Swimming Championships next month.

The annual National Division 2 Championships started today and runs through to Wednesday night.

Swimming New Zealand database administrator Amber Piggott said it was an age group event which had attracted 577 swimmers from 96 clubs.

"We have our national age group championships in April and this is for those who are just not quite there yet in terms of qualification. Quite often it's their last opportunity to qualify for that event.


"The quality of swimming here is really good, we've had lots of personal best times already and not many disqualified," Piggott said.

She encouraged locals to head down throughout the championships and check out some potential stars of the future.

"We love this venue, we do have a lot of people here but Swimming Bay of Plenty getting all the seating in and having the outdoor area does accommodate for all the people. There's a $2 spectator fee and it's a great place to watch swimming.

"On Wednesday we have a big dress-up and there's a theme. The relays each night are what really brings the teams together and creates a good atmosphere. Swimming is quite often focused on the individual, so the kids love it when they can cheer on their teammates and win something as a team."

She said swimming was a sport with a lot of benefits.

"There are oceans and lakes everywhere around New Zealand, there's water everywhere. It's not just about being competitive, it's also about being confident in the water. Even though it is technically an individual sport, you train with these people for many hours each week and make new friends.

"The atmosphere created at these events as well, it's just a good time."