Swim Rotorua athletes have been in action in a range of different swimming events recently, including the AIMS Games, New Zealand Secondary School Championships and the Ocean Swim Series in Fiji.

At the AIMS Games, more than 10,000 children aged 11-13 competed in 22 different sports with the swimming hotly contested at the Tauranga BayWave pool.

John Paul College student Miki Joyce collected two medals in outstanding form. Miki showed great tenacity and drive to win the boys' 11 years 50m breaststroke with a time of 38.58s. He was back on the podium to take the bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1m 26s.

Lina Stahlhut, also of John Paul College, picked up bronze in the girls' 200m medley with a new best time of 2m 40.24s. She also featured in another four finals which included the 100m and 200m backstroke and freestyle.

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Aaron Muchirahondo, of John Paul College, gave it everything to get on the dais, but had to settle with a brace of fourth places. These came in the 100m freestyle (1m 7.18s) and 50m backstroke (35.05s).

Mokoia Intermediate boasted two swimming stars with 13-year-old Stella Weston going 1m 26.70s in the 100m breaststroke to take sixth place. Sam Trass produced some great racing with his best place coming in the 100m butterfly.

John Paul College duo Dion Wright and Nikita Pola also achieved best times in their events. Dion, who competed in the boys' 12 years age group, showed his improved skills to take eighth place in both the 100m freestyle (1m 4.02s) and 200m freestyle (2m
20.58s). Nikita made the 200m backstroke final where she placed 10th overall with a time of 2m 44.61s.

Kasey Taikato showed off her undoubted promise with some exciting performances. Representing Tauranga Intermediate School, she smashed her 50m backstroke best time, finishing in 34.39s which placed her 10th. She also helped her school place fourth in the
4x50m medley relay.

Ngamihi Simpson, of Tarawera High School, battled hard to make five finals in her 11 years age group. Her top placing came in the 200m medley with a time of 2m 53.89s. Her other finals came in the 50m breaststroke (7th), 100m butterfly (6th), 100m freestyle (6th) and in the 100m breaststroke (6th).

Meanwhile, in Wellington, Swim Rotorua had four swimmers competing against top opposition from all over the country at the New Zealand Secondary School Swimming Championships.

Rotorua Boys' High School student Theo Harvey continued his impressive run of late. He produced a fine series of performances to bag a total of three silvers and one bronze medal. They all came with best times in the 200m freestyle (2m 10.64s), 200m butterfly (2m 23.82s), 400 metres freestyle (4m 33.80s) and the 100m freestyle where he was
tantalisingly close to breaking the 60-second barrier (1m 0.09s).

Emily Spear sprints to the finish line in Fiji. Photo / Supplied
Emily Spear sprints to the finish line in Fiji. Photo / Supplied

Seasoned campaigner David Boles, of John Paul College, produced some solid racing across the different strokes. His one medal came in the boys' 16-18 years 200m backstroke where he picked up bronze in 2m 7.53s.

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Swim Rotorua teammates Rocco Marsh and James Baldwin represented Rotorua Boys' High School in the boys' 16 years age group. Despite this age group being very competitive, both Marsh and Baldwin raced well and posted several best times. Their top placings came in the 50m freestyle with Marsh and Baldwin neck and neck with times of 25.02s and 25.06s respectively.

Swim Rotorua head coach Alastair Johnson said: "It has been great to maintain our recent
success with a stack of best times. Everyone has been racing frequently over the last two months which means that their race skills and processes have improved a lot.

"This weekend sees many of our younger stars competing at the Swimming Bay of Plenty Classic, with our more experienced swimmers now in their final preparation phase to peak at the National Short Course Championships being held in early October."

On the international stage, Swim Rotorua's Emily Spear, 15, took top honours in the inaugural Ocean Swim Series in Fiji.

The event attracted 170 swimmers from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, US and Britain who all raced 3km each day for three consecutive days around picturesque Fijian Islands.

Emily was pushed hard by her opponents, but came out on top after the three races.

Racing in tough ocean conditions against Fijian Olympic and Commonwealth competition, Spear gained valuable experience leading into the New Zealand open water season which officially kicks off in January 2019.