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2022 Event Changes & Covid-19 Update


Kia ora koutou,


Swimming NZ would like to thank our swimming community for your patience and understanding during the ongoing lockdown and restrictions throughout the country. We are working hard to provide regular updates regarding restrictions to support clubs and regions to return to the pool.


As a result of the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions throughout the country, we have made some adjustments for 2022 national events with the clear purpose of providing every opportunity for swimmers to race as we look to return to the pool over the coming months. We are very conscious of the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 to our community, and therefore would like to advise the following key changes and updates:


1. 17-18 year old age group to return to NAGS for 2022

We acknowledge the reduced opportunities over the past 2 years for age group swimmers due to the impact of Covid-19. In 2022, age group athletes are in the unique position of having only experienced one full national age competition since October 2019. Therefore, the current 17-18 year old age grouphave missed the majority of the 15 and 16 year age group competitions. In this case, we are going to provide every opportunity for these swimmers in their final years as age group swimmers to race by opening up entries to NAGS and giving a second opportunity for national competition at NZ Champs.


This decision has been made to provide every opportunity for these athletes to swim given the circumstances. However, this decision doesn’t disregard the reasons that saw the transfer of 17-18 year olds to NZ Champs for 2021 as part of the Competition Restructure & Competitive Pathway Review released in July 2020. The reasons for the original decision were:

  • Assist with transitioning into open age swimming
  • Intended to increase performance
  • Coach-driven to create a better swimming experience and increase depth in open age swimming
  • The belief that 17-18 year olds would enjoy being around older swimmers and learning from them, rather than being around the younger swimmers
  • Over-capacity and length of sessions at NAGS


By giving 17-18 year olds the opportunity to swim at NAGS in 2022, a few other changes at NAGS have been introduced accordingly. Relays have been split into the age groups of 13-15 years and 16-18 years to provide more relay opportunities and the Multi-Class age group has been extended to 13-18 years.


2. Development meet times can be used as qualification times for NZ Champs, NAGS and Div II

Swimming NZ has removed the requirement to achieve a qualifying time for NZ Champs, NAGS and Div II at a designated meet (formerly known as an approved meet), which allows swimmers to use times from any swim meet within the qualification period (development meet or formerly known as an unapproved meet). This decision has been made to provide more opportunities for swimmers to race and reduce the number of people required at local meets, given the current gathering restrictions of 100 people for those regions currently under Alert Level 2 restrictions. This is a great opportunity for clubs and regions to host some fun development meets to celebrate being back in the pool.



3. Open Water & Epic Swim Update

Swimming NZ will confirm the status of the current 15-16 January date to host Open Water and Epic Swim by the first week of December, shortly after the 29 November update from the government. A back-up date has been confirmed for 26-27 March in Taupo should there still be uncertainty surrounding the ability to host the event by the decision time in the first week of December. We are conscious that some clarity of the event status prior to the Christmas and New Year break is important, so an event update will be communicated in the first week of December.


Summary of 2022 Event Updates

Therefore, to summarise the changes to each respective event to provide every opportunity possible to swim, please see below:


2022 Orangetheory NZ Open Water Swimming Championships & Epic Swim

  • A decision to be confirmed and communicated in the first week of December surrounding the current date of 15-16 January
  • A back-up date has been confirmed as 26-27 March


2022 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships

  • 17-18 year old age group has been shifted away from this event
  • Times swum at designated meets or development meets accepted as qualifying times


2022 Apollo Projects NZ Age Group Swimming Championships

  • 17-18 year old age group has been shifted to this event
  • 17-18 year old age group qualifying times remain the same as communicated for 2022 NZ Champs
  • Relay age groups have been updated to 13-15 year olds and 16-18 year olds
  • Multi-Class age group has been extended to 13-18 year olds
  • Times swum at designated meets or development meets accepted as qualifying times


2022 Apollo Projects Division II Swimming Competition

  • Times swum at designated meets or development meets accepted as qualifying times


Contingency Plans for 2022 SNZ Events Updated

Following the recent government announcement outlining the new Covid-19 Framework (also known as the traffic light system) for once the country reaches the 90% double vaccinated status, we have updated the contingency plans for all 2022 SNZ events for the new levels. With no event gathering restrictions under traffic light level green and orange, national events will proceed with the use of vaccine certificates. For region(s) under traffic light level red, modified or bespoke options within the region or zone will be offered to still provide a racing opportunity at the same time as the event, whilst adhering to the 100 person gathering restriction permitted for events whilst using vaccine certificates.



Vaccination Requirements

As noted in the new traffic light levels and in the contingency plan for 2022 SNZ events, all attendees at SNZ events who are eligible to be vaccinated will need to show proof of vaccination to gain access into the event. The process that will enable this to occur will be communicated in due course and following government updates. Swimming NZ supports the government’s position on vaccination and recommends everyone eligible should be vaccinated.


A formal statement and policy on vaccination requirements at all swimming events around the country will be circulated in due course.


Covid-19 and Health & Safety Updates

We have developed a webpage to outline guidelines for each respective alert level and provide easy access to further information to simplify the ongoing Covid-19 levels and how they impact upon swimming events and clubs, swimming pools and learn to swim. Please note that this webpage also includes the top 5 health and safety tips with template resources to assist your club or region. This webpage will be regularly updated following government updates relating to alert levels.



Expressions of Interest for Participation Working Group

As part of Swimming NZ’s desire to see more people swimming more often, we are seeking expressions of interest from people to be involved in reviewing existing and identifying new concepts that will get more people swimming more often. Two sub-groups would be developed to support the SNZ Participation team in developing new initiatives that look to increase the number of people participating in swimming. If you are interested, please click on the link below.



Please email dale@swimming.org.nz expressing your interest in the respective sub-group by including one paragraph outlining why you would like to be involved and one area you have identified one concept as a potential opportunity moving forwards.


Finally, a big thank you to all of the coaches, volunteers, swimmers, families, our partners and the whole swimming community for their efforts in supporting one another during the ongoing alert level restrictions. Please reach out to one another to continue offering support. We are very much looking forward to seeing the community on pool deck or on shore at Lake Taupo in the new year.


Nga mihi nui,

Dale Johnson

Head of Participation & Events

Chloe Francis

Event Manager