Five locals make NZ swim squad camp

Jetstar Super Swim Squad Camp 2016 ocean swim training at Takapuna Beach. Photo Mark Leedom

A stellar coaching line up, bringing together Paralympians, Commonwealth Games medallists and former Olympians, has been confirmed for the 2017 Jetstar Super Swim Squad Camp.

The camp will take place in Auckland on May 6 and 7. Attending will be the 36 young members of the 2017 Jetstar Super Swim Squad who won their age group at one of the 200m Banana Boat OceanKids events held nationwide during the 2016-2017 New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.

The squad members, aged between eight and 12-years-old, includes five local swimmers. They will travel to Auckland (with a caregiver) from throughout New Zealand courtesy of Jetstar. The local swimmers are Ella Crowe (Half Moon Bay) who was in the squad in 2015 and 2016; her sister Grace Crowe who joins the squad for the first time; Danielle Asiata (Howick) who was in the side last year; her brother Samuel Asiata who makes his debut in the squad and Sophie Spencer (Beachlands) who made the squad in 2016.

Former triple Olympian and Silver Commonwealth Games medallist, Dean Kent, returns to head the new coaching team of five, which includes Paralympians and former Olympic and Commonwealth Games representatives.

Joining Dean Kent will be his younger brother Steven Kent, who has also represented New Zealand at both Commonwealth and Olympic levels. Dean is currently head coach at Northern Arena Swim School and Steven works alongside him.

They will be joined by another former Olympian and Commonwealth Games representative swimmer, 31-year- old Andrew McMillan. Andrew currently coaches at North Shore Swimming Club.

At 18-years-old, Paralympian Nikkita Howarth will be the youngest of the coaching team. She was the youngest New Zealand Paralympian to attend the London 2012 Paralympics at only 13, but it was the recent Rio 2016 Paralympics that saw her really shine when she came home with both gold and bronze medals in the pool.

Howarth was nominated for Disabled Sportsperson of the Year at the 2015 Halberg Awards and in 2016 was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to swimming.

The 2016 Jetstar Super Swim Squad Camp . Photo Mark Leedom

The fifth member of the coaching team, is 23-year-old Paralympian Rebecca Dubber. Her medal haul includes a silver and gold from the 2014 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, and a bronze from the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

The two-day camp will include coaching sessions in both a pool and ocean environment, with an emphasis on confidence building and mentoring.

This is the fifth year of the Jetstar Super Swim Squad, which at the conclusion of this Camp, will have seen 157 Kiwi kids mentored by top swimming stars.

Head of Jetstar New Zealand, Daniel Banens said they’re thrilled with the 2017 coaching line up.

“It will be wonderful to see  these swimming champions come together to share their experiences both in and out of the water, helping to nurture young swimming talent from communities throughout New Zealand,” he said.

“These kids have worked hard to gain a place in the squad and we’re looking forward to rewarding them with a really positive experience and sending them home with treasured memories and newly-formed friendships.”

NZ Ocean Swim Series event director, Scott Rice said Jetstar’s sponsorship over the past five seasons had helped to lift the series’ profile.

“We’ve had tremendously positive feedback from both the squad members and their parents around the benefits of the Jetstar Super Swim Squad.

“The camp is a fantastic reward for hard work and goes far beyond the technical skills that squad members pick up from the elite coaching team.

“The programme includes goal-setting and tips on overcoming challenges, which can be applied to all aspects of their lives.”

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