A trio of young Rotorua swimmers have taken another step in their already flourishing representative careers.
Swim Rotorua's Paddy Baylis, 18, David Boles, 17, and Josh Balmer, 14, have qualified for Swimming New Zealand 2018/19 national squads. To be selected they were required to achieve qualifying times in competition, those times decided whether they made bronze, silver or gold squads.
Boles and Balmer made the silver squad, while Baylis made bronze. Swimming New Zealand will hold training camps during the next year, in which the swimmers will be exposed to some of the best coaching New Zealand has to offer.
Swim Rotorua head coach Alastair Johnson was delighted for his three rising stars.
"I think the main thing they're going to get out of it is training with people of the same sort of ability, that will stretch them a little bit more. They can learn some new ideas and new techniques from other coaches, it's an education and an awareness thing in terms of what they need to do to take the next step."
Baylis and Boles have already represented New Zealand overseas, while Balmer will take his first dip into international waters in October at the Canberra State Championships in Australia.
Johnson said the New Zealand squad programme gave the swimmers a valuable opportunity to see things from another perspective.
"I think when you're training here all the time, whatever you're doing here becomes normal. When you go away, you get exposed to other approaches. It will be good for them in terms of their development.
"It's fantastic to have three of them qualify, it just shows we're doing a lot of good things here in Rotorua."
Boles, a long-distance expert, recently won bronze medals in the 5km and 10km open water races at the Oceania Swimming Championships in Papua New Guinea.
He said making the national squad was "a good opportunity" to learn from his peers.
"Obviously, you get to meet other top performers in their events and you get to train with them which is a good opportunity to learn. Some people in the squads will have more experience than the rest of us, so it will be good to learn from them and see what they do differently."
He was also looking forward to getting feedback from different coaches.
"Alastair is obviously a really good coach, but it will be cool to see what other coaches think."
His favourite aspect of the Oceania Championships was being part of the New Zealand team.
"There was a lot of support from the coaches and all the other swimmers, it was a great team atmosphere. We were top team for the Oceanias and it brought us all closer together, I think we achieved a lot more because of that."
Baylis said it was nice to be recognised by Swimming New Zealand, although he won't be able to attend the training camps as he is on his way to the United States where he has taken a swimming scholarship at Pomona College.
"It's always nice to be recognised by Swimming New Zealand. I emailed a few places and coaches in America last year and got close with one of the coaches in California and he helped me apply for the college.
"I'm super excited, I can't wait. I can still compete for New Zealand but I'll represent the school at competitions over there. I'm thinking of studying economics."
Balmer said being selected for the national squad was "so exciting".
"I've just moved up to the age for selection, so it was a bit out of the blue, but really cool. Obviously there will be some top coaches there and I can definitely learn some good skills from them."
He said his major focus would be developing his technique.
"My technique isn't bad, but it has quite a long way to go, so I'm hoping they can help me with that."
He was looking forward to his first international experience at the Canberra State Championships.
"It' going to be a great experience, it will be good to mesh and have a good time with the other swimmers. My training is going all right, I've been sick quite often during winter, but I'm fine now and we're pushing on towards state champs."