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Plenty of Action Coming to the Hawke's Bay

Event Preview of the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships

An exciting week of racing is set to begin on Tuesday 8 August at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre. It’s the first time the new facility will host a national open event, and the venue is primed to host 5 days of fast racing.


A host of our Aquablacks will be in action immediately after returning from the World Aquatics Championships in Japan. It’s been a great couple of weeks for New Zealand swimming, with some outstanding performances on the international stage, including Erika Fairweather's sub 4-minute swim in the 400m Freestyle, just the 5th woman to do so, and Cameron Leslie winning multiple medals at the Para Swimming World Championships. We look forward to seeing some of our Aquablacks hitting the shorter format back in New Zealand this week.


The championships are set to offer more opportunities for swimmers with a disability, with the introduction of three new classifications to our national events for the first time. These classifications align with opportunities available internationally, in addition to the 14 classifications offered in the Paralympic pathway.


  • S15 = hearing impairment of at least 40dB (decibels) or greater in the better ear

  • S18 = Down Syndrome or intellectual impairment (S14) combined with a physical impairment

  • S19 = Autism diagnosis




Don’t miss out on any of the action across the week, by either attending the championships via purchasing a spectator ticket to have the best seat in the house, or watching it live or on demand through our livestream. We are excited to continue offering a quality livestream of our events to our community, and to help us continue to do so we will subsidise some of the costs. We are offering two options so you can watch the action, with great value available for the price of a coffee per day.


One day option = $10 per day

Whole event option = $29.99

You can create your account and purchase your pass now below to watch our event before it gets underway, so don’t miss out on any of the action. Please note that you can only buy the day pass on the day you would like to watch.





Day 1

The Men’s 100m Backstroke will kick start the competition with Club 37 boys Zac Dell and returning semi-finalist in this event Andrew Jeffcoat battling it out, with Cooper Morley (North Shore) also returning home from studying in USA to form a close battle.


In the Women’s 100m Backstroke, it will be Aquablack Helena Gasson (Coast) up against the local Emma Godwin (Heretaunga Sundevils), with a field of emerging age group talent nipping at their heels.


Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore) will be the top seed heading into the Men’s 100m Backstroke Multi-Class, with Ella Benn (Selwyn) and Erin Knox (SwimZone Racing) ready to lock horns in the Women’s.


The 100m Individual Medley has the experienced Wilrich Coetzee (Coast) as the fastest seed in the Men’s, with Helena Gasson in the Women’s. Asher Smith-Franklin and Rylee Sayer (Matamata) are the respective fastest seeds in the Multi-Class (SM1-SM14) field.


The Women’s 200m Breaststroke field looks to be a tight battle, with Melissa Cowen (North Shore) the fastest seed just ahead of Zyleika Pratt-Smith (Coast) and Lucy McKinnon (Neptune).


Aquablacks Zac Reid (Neptune) and Caitlin Deans (Neptune) will be the headline acts in the pool in their first time race since returning from Japan in the Men’s 800m Freestyle and Women’s 1500m Freestyle.


Day 1 will round out with the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relays, with Club 37 and Coast set to resume battle in the Men’s event, with Coast and St Paul’s in the Women’s field.


Day 2

The Women’s 50m Butterfly is shaping up to be one to watch, with 2016 Rio Olympian Helena Gasson coming up against club mate Zoe Pedersen (Coast) before she leaves for World Juniors in Israel next month.


The Men’s 400m Individual Medley has newly-minted Aquablack Luan Grobbelaar (Neptune) taking on Sam Brown (Coast), with the Women’s field having Gina McCarthy (Hamilton Aquatics) up against a couple of Aussies (Jacinta Essam and Lexi Harrison).


The Men’s 200m Freestyle should be a good battle, with 2022 World Short Course representative Ben Littlejohn (St Paul’s) returning from his studies at Harvard to enter as the fastest seed, ahead of Aquablacks Carter Swift (Club 37) and Zac Reid. In the Women’s event, we will see the bronze medallist from the World Aquatics Championships, Erika Fairweather (Neptune), resume competition against Laura Littlejohn (St Paul’s) and teammate Caitlin Deans.


The Multi-Class events are set to have a few swimmers in the new classifications in both the 50m Butterfly and 400m Freestyle events on day 2. Asher Smith-Franklin and Ella Benn are set to head in as the fastest seeds for the heats.


The finals session will be rounded out with the 4 x 100m Medley Relays, with Club 37, Coast and North Shore preparing as the fastest teams on paper for the Men’s event, whilst United is comfortably the fastest leading into the Women’s event.


Day 3

The Men’s 200m Backstroke will lead off on Day 3, with Kane Follows (Neptune) just ahead of Andrew Jeffcoat on entry times. Emma Godwin heads in as the fastest seed for the Women’s.


A popular event on the program appears to be the Men’s 50m Breaststroke, with a lot of the boys entered. Josh Pickett (Club 37) enters as the fastest ahead of club mates Carter Swift and Michael Pickett (Club 37), and Wilrich Coetzee. For the Women’s event, we are set for another epic showdown between youngsters Monique Wieruszowski (Aquabladz) and Melissa Cowen (North Shore), who both qualified side-by-side for the World Juniors earlier this year at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships in April.


Another must watch will be the Women’s 400m Freestyle, where Erika Fairweather will dive into the short course event where she has just become the 5th fastest woman of all time in the long course event.


The pick of the Multi-Class races for the day will be the Men’s 200m Freestyle MC, with Asher Smith-Franklin leading Bailey Conlon (Te Arawa) and David Beck (Club 37) on entry times.


The day will conclude with the fast and furious 4 x 50m Freestyle Relays, with Club 37 having the two fastest teams in the Men’s field, and Coast having the fastest for the Women’s event. These relays will be over in a flash.


Day 4

The Men’s 50m Backstroke is set to be a mouth-watering contest, with World Aquatics Championships finalist Andrew Jeffcoat entered ahead of Cooper Morley and Zac Dell. Helena Gasson and Emma Godwin go into the Women’s event as the fastest, but youngsters Savannah-eve Martin (Coast) and World Juniors representative Milan Glintmeyer (Kiwi West) with a chance.


Local swimmer Guy Harrison (Heretaunga Sundevils) is the lead swimmer in the 50m Backstroke Multi-Class for the Men’s event, with Erin Know and Ella Benn to resume their close battles on day 4.


The Women’s 100m Breaststroke will see Monique Wieruszowski and Melissa Cowen against each other again, in what is captivating viewing.


The 100m Freestyle will be must watch racing as well, with Club 37 owning the fastest 4 swimmers on entry times for the Men’s event. Aquablacks Carter Swift and Michael Pickett will be the ones to watch. For the Women’s event, 19-year-olds Erika Fairweather and Laura Littlejohn will continue their racing. In the Multi-Class, Asher Smith-Franklin and David Beck will be going head-to-head in the Men’s, with Ella Benn and Rylee Sayer in the Women’s.


The 4 x 50m Medley Relay will round out the penultimate evening, with Club 37 again hosting the fastest two teams on paper in the Men’s event, whilst United and Coast will resume battle in the Women’s.


Day 5

The final day of competition kicks off with the explosive 50m Freestyle, with Aquablacks Michael Pickett and Carter Swift the main men to watch. For the Women’s event, Aquablack Chelsey Edwards will be hoping to be first to the wall against Rebecca Moynihan (Club 37) and Zoe Pedersen. Guy Harrison and Ella Benn will be the ones to watch in the Multi-Class event respectively.


Luan Grobbelaar and Sam Brown look to have another exciting showdown brewing, with the Men’s 200m Individual Medley likely to go down to the wire.


The championships will be rounded out with some exciting mixed relays, with both the Mixed 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay and Mixed 4 x 100m Medley Relay. Coast lay claim to the first bragging rights as the fastest seed in the freestyle relay, whilst United, Coast and Club 37 will be a great battle in the medley. The Mixed 4 x 100m Medley Relay Multi-Class is on the program again for the second year, with 3 teams formed of swimmers joining forces from across the country.


Don’t Miss Any of the Action

Make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships in Hawke’s Bay. There will be an Aquablacks signing session from 4pm on final night of racing (Saturday 12 August) in the main pool foyer which is open to the public.


Sessions get underway at 8.35am for the heats and 5.30pm for the finals across the 5 days of competition.






We are excited to continue offering a quality livestream of our events to our community, and to help us continue to do so we will subsidise some of the costs. We are offering two options so you can watch the action, with great value available for the price of a coffee per day.

One day option = $10 per day

Whole event option = $29.99

You can create your account and purchase your pass now below to watch our event before it gets underway, so don’t miss out on any of the action. Please note that you can only buy the day pass on the day you would like to watch.

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