Remember the names Chloe Boyt, Sophie Black, and Eden Leach - they're three young synchronised swimmers making their mark in the sport internationally.

The trio were part of the 11-person New Zealand Synchro Pikopiko Team, for athletes aged 15 and under, that competed at the Asia Pacific Open in Malaysia this month. Not only did the young swimmers - Chloe,14, Sophie, 13, and Eden, 12 - gain international experience, they managed to end the year on a high winning two silver medals at the event.

The athletes won silver in both the 15 and under team and combination team events with their team-mates from around New Zealand.

"Being able to compete against some of Asia's strongest teams was an incredible experience and one that will stay with me for a long time," Eden says.


"Our team performed beyond our coach's expectations and it was really exciting to come away with two silver medals for New Zealand," she says.

Tauranga Synchro was also represented in a second Pikopiko team competing at the Argentina Open in October and November, with Tauranga's Avalee Donovan, 15, and Eve Donoghue, 13 in the squad. The team picked up a silver medal for their combination team event, and narrowly missed a bronze for their 15 and under team routine.

Tauranga Synchro chairwoman Kate Boyt says it's been a fantastic year for high performance synchronised swimmers in Tauranga.

"We've had five 15 and under athletes representing New Zealand at two international competitions. Plus, we had another five senior athletes competing at the World Championships earlier this year. It's been a phenomenal year.

"These girls are training 12-plus hours a week – a big ask on top of their school commitments. And they are attending training camps around the country every school holidays. It's a huge commitment. But it's all worth it when they get opportunities and results like these."

Kate says 2020 will be another big year for the club. Tauranga Synchro has welcomed their new head coach Marie-Lou Morin, who also takes on the role of head coach of the 2020 NZ Pikopiko Squad.

Morin, who was a member of the Canadian national team for over 12 years and has been to three World Championships and the Pan American Games, will lead Tauranga Synchro's coaching team which also features former Brazilian national swimmer Suzanne Ribeiro.