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Rotorua - the place to swim

Rotorua is the place to be for swimming

 New initiatives are helping to revitalise the Rotorua Aquatic Centre and swimming in Rotorua.

 Rotorua Aquatic Centre hosts many out of town swim clubs (regulars being United, Parnell, Aqua Hawks, Taranaki Swimming and other Bay of Plenty clubs) during school holidays, the clubs enjoying the choice of the indoor 25m pool and the country’s only outdoor 50m pool, which is open year-round.  The Aqua Blacks, including multiple World Championship medallist Lauren Boyle, have trained at the Rotorua centre on many occasions. The geothermally heated 50m pool, which opened in 1975, was refurbished earlier this year, with other improvementsproposed and a new Council designed learn to swim school developed.

 “We have a great facility that has a lot to offer and we have a strong focus on our customers having a safe and fun time,” Aquatic Centre Manager David Pearce says.  “We are equally focussed on supporting athletes who want to strive to represent New Zealand, that they are able to do so from here.  We have a number of highly ranked national level swimmers and are proud of the open water international results Rotorua’s Kane Radford is enjoying.”  National ranked triathletes, water polo and under water hockey representatives also use Rotorua Aquatic Centre as their training base.

The quality facilities have attracted the English Youth team of 12 for their final week of training before competing in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.“Our athletes and coaching staff are very excited to be arriving in Rotorua for the critical final week of training,” Grant Robins, England Programmes Team Leader, says.  “We were attracted by the facilities, the location and the support we have been offered. We know we will have a productive week.” The English squad will visit local schools in their downtime; coaching staff will run coaching forums and Rotorua swimmers will be able to swim alongside the international visitors.

 At the other end of the spectrum are children learning to swim and after 12 years operating under a swim school franchise, the Aquatic Centre has set up Rotorua Lakes Swim School, which has started this term.

 “The process of designing a new learn to swim school has been challenging and rewarding for our team,” Pearce says.  A new learn to swim pathway has been developed with expert assistance from award winning coach Alastair Johnson.  The pathway is a comprehensive and innovative programme supporting delivery of a fun and positive swimming experience at every lesson, inspiring swimmers to grow their confidence, skills and lifelong love of the water.  “Being the region in New Zealand with the most lakes we have a real responsibility to ensure our local community have the core life skill of being able to swim,” Pearce says. “A strong focus of the new learn to swim school is that our instructors get around the region to deliver lessons, particularly where low socio economics don’t allow some children to access the Aquatic Centre.” The Rotorua Lakes Swim School is also working towards becoming a Swimming New Zealand endorsed Quality Swim School.

Meanwhile, the newly rebranded Swim Rotorua, the only swim club in the city and one of the premier clubs in the Bay of Plenty is seeing steady growth in membership with competitive numbers on the increase.  Head coach and Swimming NZ gold accredited coach Alastair Johnson oversees the competitive athletes. “We have seen significant progress in our regional and national performance over the last three years,” Johnson says. “As a club we are very proud of our relationship role in the Rotorua community and we are excited about some future projects in collaboration with key partners, including the Aquatic Centre.”

Swimming Bay of Plenty President Bronwen Radford says “it’s great to see everyone working together so well in Rotorua. After recent discussions, Swimming NZ have also confirmed training camps to be held at the Rotorua Aquatic Centre for the Open Water/Distance selected athletes from throughout NZ camp and the National Age Group Central/Lower North Island athletes. I’m also aware of an international swimming team making plans to train in Rotorua in February.”