A St Peter’s swimmer is preparing to make her mark internationally – in the sea off the coast of southern Israel to be exact – following fantastic results at the Australian Open Water Swimming Championships.
Hannah Blackwood, who graduated Year 13 last year, will compete at the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championship in Eilit, Israel having finished 5th in the 18-year-old girls’ category at the Australian champs. Another St Peter’s Swimming Club member, Luke Mitchell, also finished 8th at the Australian competition.
Hannah will be the only swimmer representing New Zealand at the world champs, being held from September 6 – 8.
“I’m just so excited to be on the world stage and representing the country, going into some new exciting racing and giving it a real good crack,” said Hannah. “I’m stoked to have Carl coaching me. Just having a cool team around me is really awesome, really stoked and grateful to have them.”
Carl Gordon, director of coaching – swimming at the St Peter’s Swimming Academy, has also represented New Zealand internationally and made the top ten for three years during the 1990s. He’ll be attending World Champs with Hannah.
“At this stage we’re looking into whether we can go to Europe and do a couple of World Cup races in June, and that will give us a bench mark of where we’re at, and also some more exposure at that level,” Carl explained. “It’s a good way to measure where you’re at in terms of training.”
Hannah will be swimming 10km in the ocean at the world champs, which is expected to take about two hours. Though she’ll be supported by coaches on a pontoon, it will no doubt be a tough race. “It’s just a lot of training building up to it,” said Hannah.
The St Peter’s Swimming Club has had even more swimmers do well recently, with a team of 40 swimmers competing at the NZ Zonal Junior Championships to pick up up 18 medals, including Savanna Bourke winning two gold and seven silver medals. Alyssa Tapper also won three bronze medals, making the podium alongside medallists Spencer Cleland, Miles Julian and Milana Tapper.
At the most recent Waikato Junior Champs held March 10 – 11, a team of 48 St Peter’s club swimmers competed with Olivia Emmett winning 7 medals, Sam Ballantyne 7 medals, and Savanna Bourke with another 13 medals.