2022 NAGS wrap up

25 Apr

The National Age Group Swimming Championships (NAGS) started off unusually for Tawa, with the swimmers competing the first couple of days visibly nervous and the team uncharacteristically quiet. The swims were not quite where they should have been, places in finals (top 8 swimmers) were limited, and we just seemed a little bit lost.

And then it happened, squad members who were not swimming started showing up to support the team, even those that had not qualified for NAGS, and we got back to the core of who we are as a club. There was hijinx and loud cheering in the stands, high fives and hugs after the races. We were back! There is a certain vibe about our team when we are true to ourselves, it’s something that’s very hard to explain but something that’s hard to miss.

Of course competing at WRAC never seems to be without it’s technical difficulties and in the last session of racing the timing system at the southern end stopped working. Any event longer than 50m moved to manual timing. Everyone was keen to get things going, and 16 timekeepers have never turned up faster when the request went out.

The results in the pool are of course what matters most at NAGS, and we had some really good swims. The most memorable ones were probably 1) Hara’s 50 Breast race where he had the perfect finish to snatch the Gold off Jackson Kennard who had beat him to the wall in the 100m and 200m distances; 2) Chalotte’s prefectly executed race in the 50m Free heats; 3) Bianca’s unexpected Bronze in the 50 Fly which she won by her finger tips; 4) Hannah’s 200 Fly Gold where she had to dig deep when the body was really hurting to beat the fast finishing Shaeli Brewer.

There is no doubt that Covid has left it’s mark on our team. While we are so grateful that the change to Orange meant that NAGS could be run as a ‘normal’ meet, the lack of long course pool time and racing for our team was noticable. Tawa has not had any long course training or racing since the start of February and it showed in that last 15 meters in the pool. It is undeniable that the swimmers that had 50m pool time leading into NAGS were at a considerable advantage.

Like any major meet, you cannot discuss NAGS without mentioning the support around the team. Special mention to 1) Nadia who not only coached at every session, but provided transport to any swimmer who wanted to come and support; 2)  Sandra and Suzanne for managing the team across the 12 sessions; 3) The Tawa officials who helped out despite having no kids swim at the meet. Especially Hugh – you are a legend! 4) Those swimmers who came to support even when you were not swimming.

Tawa at NAGS – by the numbers:

11 swimmers -- 8 volunteers -- 39 events -- 15 finals -- 8 relays --  6 medals --  8 club records -- club placed 27th out of 67 clubs.

Bring on Div II, we are the second largest team attending this year and it’s going to be a blast!

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