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Swimming qualifies biggest team for World University Games

New Zealand will send a 19-strong team, the biggest in their history, to July’s World University Games in Korea.

The swimmers qualified at the recent New Zealand Open Championships for the summer Universiade, which is expected to attract 12,000 athletes from 170 nations for the 28th biennial event.

The New Zealand team did not win a medal in the 2013 Games in stark contrast to their efforts in the 2011 event where the Kiwis won a remarkable 12 medals, which more than doubled their tally from all World University Games since they first took part in 1983.

Three swimmers return from 2013 Universiade in Russia in Canterbury’s Matthew Hutchins, Otago’s Kate Godfrey and North Shore’s Laura Quilter, and includes a number of swimmers who went close to qualifying for the world championships at the trials this month.

It includes 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games representatives Quilter, Samantha Lee, Ewan Jackson and Mitchell Donaldson; Auckland’s Michael Mincham competed at the Youth Olympics last year; national open water champion Kane Radford (Rotorua) has qualified for the world championships and in-form Waikato swimmer Helena Gasson, who won four titles at the national championships.

Several swimmers are on scholarships at colleges in the USA comprising Auckland’s Georgia Marris (Florida), North Canterbury’s Natasha Lloyd (Auburn), Christchurch’s Sophia Batchelor (Florida), Auckland’s Alex Peach (Delta State), Christchurch’s Matthew Hutchins (Wisconsin) and Waikato’s Sam Perry (Stanford).

The Games run from July 3-14 in Gwangju, Korea.

The team is (with coaching staff to be finalised):

Female: Caroline Baddock (North Shore, Auckland – Auburn University USA); Georgia Marris (United, Auckland – University of Florida); Helena Gasson (Fairfield, Waikato University); Kate Godfrey (Neptune, Otago University); Laura Quilter (North Shore, Massey University); Monique King (North Shore, Massey); Natasha Lloyd (North Canterbury, Auburn University USA); Samantha Lee (Capital, Wellington – Massey); Sophia Batchelor (AquaGym, Christchurch – University of Florida).

Male: Alex Peach (United, Auckland – Delta State USA); Daniel Hunter (Howick Pakuranga, Auckland University); Ewan Jackson (Howick Pakuranga, AUT); Kane Radford (Rotorua, Massey); Matthew Hutchins (Wharenui, Christchurch – University of Wisconsin); Michael Mincham (Waterhole, Auckland – AUT); Mitchell Donaldson (North Shore, Massey); Phillip Ryan (Waterhole, Unitec Auckland); Sam Perry (St Peters, Waikato – Stanford USA); Shaun Burnett (North Shore, Massey).

CAPTION: Waikato’s Helena Gasson in action during the recent national championships.

The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: BW Media

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