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Five Otago Athletes Selected to Represent NZ at FINA World Short Course Champs

After a successful week at the New Zealand Short Course Championships in Auckland, which served as a selection meet for 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in December, five Otago athletes have been selected to represent New Zealand on the international stage later this year.

Huge congratulations to Erika Fairweather, Caitlin Deans, Luan Grobbelaar, Ruby Heath, and Esme Paterson on your selection. We are so incredibly proud of each of you!

December's competition will mark the second World Short Course Championships Caitlin has attended; after racing in the 800m Freestyle and 4x200m Freestyle Relay at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) held in Hangzhou, China in 2018. It will also mark Caitlin's third international team she has made in 2022 - having represented New Zealand at the Mare Nostrum circuit and 19th FINA World Championships Budapestin Europe over the span of 3 months. We can't wait to see how Caitlin does at this edition of the championships!

It will be Erika's first World Short Course Championships. Despite attending a plethora of high profile international competitions, Fairweather has yet to compete in a short course format on the international stage - marking an exciting new challenge for this young gun. It will also mark Erika's first time competing in the 800m Freestyle at a senior international competition, having only raced it once internationally - in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina. After a busy year of racing after a long stint in Europe competing at the FINA World Aquatic Championships and Commonwealth Games, we are excited to see Erika take on these new challenges!

The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will mark Luan's first senior NZ team he has been selected to. Prior to changing his sporting nationality to New Zealand, Grobbelaar had represented South Africa at the Commonwealth Youth Games (2017), 6th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships (2017), and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. After switching nationalities in 2019, Luan went on to represent New Zealand at the 7th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships where he was a semi-finalist. With an abundance of international racing experience, we are stoked to see Luan make this team and cannot wait to see what he can bring to the table in December!

Having made her international debut earlier this year at the 19th FINA World Championships in the open water events, Ruby has now been selected to her first international team for pool swimming. It's been a year of moving from
strength to strength for this exciting, young talent - with her success in open water trickling into a fantastic campaign at the New Zealand Short Course Championships. We love to see Ruby doing so well in both swimming disciplines, and cannot wait to see her racing
against some of the best in the world in the pool later this year!

These championships will mark Esme's first international team she has been selected to. It's been a break out year for Esme, having broken her first Otago record earlier this year at the New Zealand Swimming Championships when she took down Liz van Welie's Long Course 100m Butterfly Open record. After an unreal campaign at the New Zealand Short Course Championships, Esme notched an additional two Otago Open records to her name - the short course 50m and 100m Butterfly - and slipped under the FINA 'B' mark in the 200m Butterfly. We cannot wait to see Esme put on the silver fern for the first time, and are excited to see how she continues to progress as an athlete!

It is an incredible achievement for the Otago region, Neptune Swim Club, and Swim Dunedin, to have so many athletes selected to this team. As one of the smallest swimming regions in the country, these results demonstrate we are batting well above our weight, and is a testament to the calibre of training being conducted by Lars, Kurt, and the rest of the Swim Dunedin team at Moana Pool. We cannot wait to see our region continue to make our mark on the national stage and beyond.

Full team headed to the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m):

Swimming Auckland

Coast Swim Club - Helena Gasson, Eve Thomas
North Shore Swimming Club - Louis Clark, Cameron Gray, Kane Follows, Summer Osborne
Phoenix Aquatics - Hazel Ouwehand

Swimming Hawkes Bay-Poverty Bay

Heretaunga Sundevils - Emma Godwin

Swimming Manawatu

Kiwi West Aquatics - Mya Rasmussen

Swimming Otago

Neptune Swim Club - Caitlin Deans, Erika Fairweather, Luan Grobbelaar, Ruby Heath, Esme Paterson

Swimming Waikato

Pukekohe Swim Club - Zac Dell, Joshua Gilbert, Andrew Jeffcoat, Michael Pickett, Carter Swift
St Paul's Swimming Club - Ben Littlejohn, Laura Littlejohn

Swimming Wellington

Capital Swim Club - Lochlainn O'Connor
Otaki Titans
- Rebecca Moynihan