Donate Now
News posted on Monday 1st May, 2017

Next generation of Para swimmers make a splash in the pool

Next generation of Para swimmers

The future of New Zealand’s Para swimming programme is looking strong following a series of Para Swimming Development Camps hosted by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) during the April school holidays.

With rising participation rates in Para swimming across the country, for the first time, the PNZ National Para Swimming Development camp was split into two separate North Island and South Island Camps, held in Rotorua and Christchurch respectively. A total of 22 young Para athletes and 9 Para swimming pathway coaches attended the camps, participating in technique sessions, test sets, development workshops, and team-building activities. Para athletes were also treated to coaching, mentoring and a question and answer session with Paralympians Nikita Howarth and Jesse Reynolds.


Both camps were led by PNZ National Development Coach – Para Swimming, Gary Francis who was very excited by the ability and enthusiasm of the Para athletes involved: “In just a few years I have seen the quality and quantity of the developing Para swimmers in our programmes grow considerably. The signs are very good for the future.“


The Para Swimming Development Camps formed the platform for announcing a new squad structure for the Para Swimming National Development Programme. Athletes were invited to the camps based upon their selection to the Paralympic Prospects squad for swimmers displaying interest and early signs of future High Performance potential, or the Emerging Para athlete squad for swimmers demonstrating commitment and progression towards international performance standards. Several additional athletes named on the Paralympic Prospects Watch List were also invited to attend a portion of the camp as an introduction to the PNZ Para Swimming Pathway.


While it was encouraging to see so many Para athletes in the water, PNZ Para Sport High Performance Athlete Development Manager Melissa Wilson was equally as impressed by the number and quality of the Para swimming pathway coaches involved: “At one stage on pool deck in Rotorua, we had two Paralympians, an Olympian, a Youth World Champion, and three seasoned National level club swimming coaches, all contributing to the training session. In Christchurch, we had Paralympic legend Roly Crichton working alongside Gary mentoring two coaches who are relative newcomers to Para swimming but have growing squads at the learn to swim and competitive levels.“


The growing number and standard of Para swimmers in New Zealand is likely due to a combination of factors, including increased public awareness following the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, recruitment initiatives such as the ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days, and efforts by regional ParaFed organisations to improve regular training and competition opportunities for Para swimmers. For example, ParaFed Canterbury are now in the second year of delivery of a regular Para swimming training programme, and recently worked with the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and Canterbury Primary Schools Sport to promote Para swimming at the recent Canterbury Primary School Swimming Championships. ParaFed Auckland have also recently commenced a regular Para swimming programme and discussions are under way to set up a Waikato / Bay of Plenty Para swimming hub. Many athletes involved in the weekend’s Development Camps are currently ParaFed members and are actively involved in their local ParaFed swimming programme.


Thank you to all Para athletes, coaches, parents and organisations who contributed to the success of our North Island and South Island Para Swimming Development Camps. We cannot wait to do it all again next year!

If you would like to find out more about becoming involved in Para swimming, please register your interest now.


Emerging Para Athlete Squad:

Olivia Upston (Parnell Swim Club)
Kate McKelvie (Trojans Swim Club)
Tama Soluata (Howick Pakuranga Swim Club)
David Beck (Mount Albert Grammar School)
Melissa Donoghue (Cambridge Swim Club)

Paralympic Prospects Squad:

Hannah van Wijk (Dannevirke Swim Club)
Jack Lewington (Dannevirke Swim Club)
Siobhan Terry (Taupo Swimming)
Nia Wallace (Coast Swim Club)

Paralympic Prospects Watch List:

Jaden Movold (Coast Swim Club)
Joshua Wilmer (Papakura Swim Club)
Sionann Murphy (Coast Swim Club)
Cuda Lee (Taupo Swimming)


Daniel Bell (Trojans Swim Club)
Kurt Basset (Parnell Swim Club)
Henk Greupink (Taupo Swimming)
Sue Woods (Cambridge Swim Club)
Lin Tozer (Dannevirke Swim Club)
Sean Foley (Papakura Swim Club; Parafed Auckland)
Ian Winson (North Shore Swim Club)

Paralympic Mentor:

Nikita Howarth (Te Awamutu Swim Club)

Special Thanks:

Rotorua Aquatic Centre
The Backyard Inn, Rotorua
Agroventures Adventure Park


Emerging Para Athlete Squad:

Ieuan Edwards (Selwyn Swim Club)
George Adam (North Canterbury Swim Club)
Ella Benn (Waitaha Swim Club)
Jane Mary Fox (Orca Swim Club)

Paralympic Prospects Squad:

Lili-Fox Mason (Kings Swim School)
Nico Wildbore (Waitaha Swim Club)
Zoe McKinlay-Clark (Waitaha Swim Club)

Paralympic Prospects Watch List:

Gaby Smith (Wharenui Swim Club)
Amber Proudfoot (Parafed Canterbury)
Ali Coles (Aquagym Swim Club)


Roly Crichton (Paralympics New Zealand)
Ben Close (Selwyn Swim Club)
Huia Mikara (Waitaha Swim Club)

Paralympic Mentor:

Jesse Reynolds (Fairfield Swim Club)

Special Thanks:

Jellie Park Recreation and Sport Centre
Parafed Canterbury
High Performance Sport New Zealand
Clip ‘n Climb, YMCA Christchurch

You may also like

Our Partners

Major Partner

Official Partners

Team Supporters

Official Suppliers

Funding Partners