Seven local swimmers, including a strong contingent from Whanganui Collegiate under their new former Olympian coach, will be off to the New Zealand Secondary School championships in Hamilton next week.
Over 730 swimmers from 160 schools will enter the various events from September 12-15 in the Waterworld complex, the numbers of which are on-par with national age group and short course vents.
All seven of the locals are members of the Whanganui Swimming Club, training at the Splash Centre.
Lucy Somerville will represent Whanganui High School and Hazel Engert-Rogers will swim for Whanganui Girls College.
The Collegiate team is Katie Kerins, Georgia Abraham, Lillian Young-Wilson, Jack Robertson and Andrew Hay.
Jackie Abraham will manage the school team, while the championships will be their first under the auspices of coach Richard Gheel, who officially takes up the role on Monday after being appointed by the Board of WSC.
The Irishman Gheel has 30 years of experience in both competing and professional coaching.
He represented Ireland at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, as well as competing at three Commonwealth Games.
The secondary school champs allows swimmers to qualify or improve their times ahead of October's NZ Short Course Championships, being held in Auckland.
The Collegiate swimmers will enter 23 individual events over the three days.
Abraham, Young-Wilson, Robertson and Hay with also enter the 4x200m relay events, in both freestyle and individual medley.