Nelson swimmers to compete with olympians


Three Nelson teenagers will attend the pinnacle New Zealand swimming event, the SNZ Open Championships in Auckland.

Nelson South Swimming Club members Ellie Rukuwai, 17; Samantha Trevurza, 16 and Eddie Neill, 17 will compete in the event which will broadcast on Sky Sports as the country’s top swimming athletes battle it out for glory on the national stage.

Tim Loach, Head Coach for Nelson South says attending the event is a great achievement.

“These teenagers will be rubbing shoulders with the country’s best swimmers including NZ Olympians Lauren Boyle, Glenn Snyders, Matthew Stanley and Samantha Lee.  I’m exceptionally proud of all three of them.  They work hard in training and their hard work has paid off.  It’s immensely satisfying to coach swimmers of this caliber.”

Ellie Rukuwai will be competing in 6 events over the meet and will be hoping to make the finals in her favoured 50m and 100m breaststroke events.

Ellie was the gold medalist in the 50m breaststroke at the 2014 Short Course Championships in her age group and won bronze in the same event at the 2014 National Age Group Championships.

She says she is excited to compete with the top competitors.

“It’s amazing to think I could be swimming against Natasha Lloyd – one of the country’s best female breaststrokers. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

Sam Trevurza specialises in backstroke and butterfly and will find herself up against the top New Zealand junior swimmers in her four events.

Sam won a bronze medal in the 50m butterfly at the SNZ Short Course Age Group Champs last year along with gold medals in 100m back, 50m back and 50m fly and silver in the 100m fly at the 2014 SNZ Secondary Schools Championships.

Eddie Neill competed at Opens last year and is hoping to build on his experiences.

“There was a great atmosphere at last year’s event so I’m looking forward to swimming up in Auckland again,” he says.

He has chosen to concentrate on his two specialist events, 400IM and 400m freestyle at this year’s Open Championships.

Ellie, Sam and Eddie won’t have time to relax after Opens but will return to Nelson and continue their training to prepare for the SNZ National Age Group Championships, being held in Wellington in May, where they will be joined by 8 more of their Nelson South team-mates.