Hawke’s Bay to Host Major National Swimming Events For the First Time
The Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre will host New Zealand’s premium swimming championships in 2023 and 2024, a first for the region.
Swimming New Zealand today announced that the new $32 million aquatic centre in Hastings will host the 2023 Apollo Projects New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championship next April, the 2023 New Zealand Short Course Swimming Championship in August followed by the back-to-back 2024 New Zealand Swimming Championships and 2024 New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships in April 2024.
Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust (HBCFCT) has formed a partnership with Swimming Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay, Hastings District Council and Napier City Council to bring the events to the region.
The 2024 New Zealand Swimming Championships will be the final trial for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. The four events will each attract between 300 to 600 competitors and more than double in supporters.
Top national swimmers likely to compete include multiple Paralympic Games gold medallists Dame Sophie Pascoe and Cameron Leslie, new swimming sensation Lewis Clareburt, who won 2 gold medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games along with fellow gold medallist Andrew Jeffcoat and upcoming talent Erika Fairweather.
HBCFCT Trustee Bruce Mactaggart said the announcement was a huge boost for the region and a vote in confidence in the capability and capacity of the new regional aquatic centre.
“We are thrilled to be the host of these four major swimming events and we will look forward to strengthening our partnership with Swimming New Zealand over the coming months with further announcements.
“Swimming NZ representatives have visited the aquatic centre and are very impressed with the FINA rated 50m pool and warm up pools, spectator seating for over 1000 and permanent technology and media platforms for live broadcasting and streaming.
Swimming New Zealand Head of Participation & Events Dale Johnson said the new aquatic centre is the best in New Zealand, making it an easier decision to have the region host national events for the first time.
“As well as the FINA rated pools, the centre has excellent permanent facilities such as control rooms for timing and broadcasting, drug testing facilities, meeting rooms as well as services such as onsite physiotherapy and accommodation.
Mr Johnson said the age group national championships will attract the largest number of competitors with over 600 expected. The short course events are likely to attract swimmers from the Pacific Islands and Australia.
Mr Mactaggart said it will be the first time Hawke’s Bay competitors don’t need to travel to compete and instead be hosts. It will also give them added motivation to perform at their best in their home pool.
“One of our aims is to create future Olympic and World Champion swimmers and by hosting major events, it inspires our local swimming talent to reach for the stars.
Swimming Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay administrator Sue Hewitt says as host regional sporting organisation for swimming “we are extremely excited to have some key national events being held in Hawke’s Bay.
“Not only is it great for our swimmers to have these meets locally, it is also tremendous to be able to showcase swimming at a high level in the best aquatic facility in New Zealand,” she said.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said hosting four national swimming events provides an opportunity to showcase the region and it’s many attributes. She added that the region now has world class sport facilities that create significant economic benefits.
“It is fantastic that we can now host events of national and international standard in world class facilities such as the regional aquatic centre. As well as attracting competitors, these events bring families and sport fans to enjoy our hospitality, retail and accommodation offerings.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said securing events of national significance offer immense opportunities for the region, especially those that are outside of the popular tourism months.
“It’s fantastic that Hawke’s Bay can host these national swimming events in the shoulder tourism season that build upon the momentum of the hectic summer holiday period. It’s a big windfall for our retailers and our accommodation providers.”
· 2023 Apollo Projects New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships
12-16 April 2023
· 2023 New Zealand Short Course Swimming Championships
9-12 August 2023
· 2024 New Zealand Swimming Championships
9-13 April 2024
· 2024 New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships
15-19 April 2024