Swimming New Zealand has selected a 17-strong team to compete in the sixth Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney next month. The swimmers will form part of the overall team under the New Zealand Olympic Committee for the Festival on January 16-20, which is expected to attract 1700 athletes under-18 years from 30 nations competing in 17 sports. The team is headed by national age group record-holders Abbie Johnston (AqyaGym, Christchurch), Max Polianski (United, Auckland), Julian Weir (AquaBladz, Stratford), Ben Walsh (Porirua Aquatics) and Hokitikas George Schroder (AquaGym). The group includes 10 swimmers who represented New Zealand earlier this year across the Tasman in the Trans Tasman tri-series against Australia. Swimming New Zealand acting chief executive Mark OConnor said the Festival plays a valuable role in development. Swimming New Zealand has been part of the previous five editions of the Australian Youth Festival, Mr OConnor said. It offers us the chance of strong international competition among our promising under-18 swimmers as they look to bridge up to elite level. This gives them a taste of the level of competition required, the atmosphere of a major meet and the benefit of competing in an outstanding facility at Sydney Aquatic Centre. Additionally it allows the swimmers to be part of a bigger New Zealand sporting team and to experience that environment which is something they need to understand if they are to succeed at the Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games in the future. The team is: Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield, Hamilton), Caroline Baddock (Laser Mt Eden, Auckland), Cameron Blair (KiwiWest, Palmerston North), Carter Edgecombe (Fairfield), Abbie Johnston (AquaGym, Christchurch), Monique King (North Shore), Georgia Marris (United, Auckland), Aimee Moss (Howick Pakuranga, Auckland), Samuel Perry (St Peters, Cambridge), Max Polianski (United), Melita Raravula (Northwave, Whangarei), Kelly Scammell (AquaGym), George Schroder (AquaGym), Grace Sommerville (Ashburton), Edward Taylor (Karori, Wellington), Ben Walsh (Porirua Aquatics, Wellington), Julian Weir (AqauaBladz, Startford). Coaches: Carl Gordon (Ashburton), Glenn Hamblyn (Laser Mt Eden), Andrew Nicholls (Kiwi West). Managers: Philip Rush, Sandra Turner.

Sydney 2000 Olympic Summer Games
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