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The start of something extraordinary

Outward Bound Proves to Be a Beneficial Experience for Young Swimmers

For the last four years Swimming New Zealand has sent a team of swimmers to partake in a custom designed Outward Bound leadership camp.

This year’s camp took place from 27 April – 4 May and involved the top seven male and female swimmers, under 23 years old, who achieved the highest FINA points score at the New Zealand National Open Championships.

The eight day camp aimed to give swimmers valuable life skills to cope not only with the demands of elite swimming, but develop them into well rounded individuals.

Eighteen year old Emily McGill from the Capital Swim Club in Wellington believes that Outward Bound was an invaluable experience.

“I learnt that a lot of good things can come from a group of fourteen people who don’t know each other very well. We learnt to trust each other, rely on each other, and work as a team for both small and large tasks,” said McGill.

Swimming is largely an individual sport but great success has come to the swimming nations that work together. McGill’s highlight involved a team-building exercise that showed her the power and importance of team-work.

“My favourite part of Outward Bound was the day we spent kayaking where we had to work as a team because most of the kayaking involved going down and through various sized rapids. Half the group were in their kayaks while the other half were in charge of managing the rapid. The tasks included making sure the area was clear, jumping in to rescue if people capsized, throwing ropes to people floating downstream and ensuring everyone got back onto land safely,” she said.

McGill will be competing at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia from 6-17 July. She believes that her Outward Bound experience will hold her in good stead for her first major international swimming competition.

“Outward Bound taught me that the hard sets and the early mornings are really worth it. It showed me that the amount of effort and dedication that I put in is really worth it when I see the final result.”

The camp focused on the development of confidence, self-esteem and team work. Outward Bound values and design principles were used to; develop the mental edge required to participate at an elite sporting level, use team work to overcome team challenges, and develop leadership while building robust relationships between team members.

Psychological barriers were also broken down as the camp expanded comfort zones, enhanced motivation, and developed the attitudes, character, and qualities required for success personally and in elite sport.  

The Outward Bound Team included:
Abbie Johnston (Aquagym), Adam McDonald (Roskill), Alexandria Clareburt (Capital), Ben Quilter (Comet), Charles Porter (Aquagym), Emily McGill (Capital), George Schroder (Aquagym), Georgia Marris (United), Helena Gasson (Thames), Jacob Garrod (North Shore), Matthew Myers (North Shore), Melita Raravula (Northwave), Monique King (North Shore), Samuel Turner (Capital).