Garin College student Thomas Heaton has been selected to attend an international youth coaching programme in Qatar in December. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Swimmer off to Qatar training camp

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Garin College swimmer Thomas Heaton will benefit from some leading edge tuition and get the chance to see the world’s fastest swimmers in action at an elite youth coaching programme in Qatar later this year.

Thomas, 15, is one of two swimmers selected to represent New Zealand at the International Federation of Swimming Associations (FINA) Youth Programme in Doha, from December 3 to 7. One male and one female swimmer, aged 14 to 16, from each FINA country will attend the programme, which is designed to inspire talented young swimmers and expose them to the latest training techniques – about 350 swimmers are expected to attend. “I’m really excited about it,” Thomas says. “It will be great fun and it would be great to see some world record swims go down.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing what other coaching ideas and philosophies are out there. It will be all the latest stuff.”

Thomas was selected for the programme after gaining the highest FINA points for males in this age group at the national age group competition held in April and May. He won the 1500 metre freestyle, finished second in the 400m freestyle and was fourth in the 800m freestyle events at this meet and qualified to compete in six other events.

Tasman Magic Academy coach Andy Adair says it will be a great opportunity for Thomas, who has trained hard all season.

Andy says Thomas moved from Dunedin to Nelson to further his swimming career and his selection is recognition of his commitment and hard work.

“It is very exciting that Swim New Zealand can now offer this all-expenses-paid international training camp as part of its development pathway for our young swimmers,” Andy says.

Thomas will need to pay for his New Zealand uniform, travel insurance and have spending money but everything else is paid for including attendance at the FINA world championships finals.

“The Tasman Swim Club are thrilled that Thomas has been given this tremendous honour to share with other top swimmers from around the world. Undoubtedly this will inspire other swimmers from the club and region, as they learn and hear about this incredible opportunity,” Andy says.

But this week Thomas and his Tasman clubmates were focused on the national short course champs in Wellington.

Thomas was competing in all the freestyle distances, including his specialist 400 metre and 1500 metre as well as the 400 metre individual medley.