1 Oct 2010


9:26 pm on 1 October 2010

New Zealand's swimming squad the Aqua Blacks set a high bar at the recent senior and junior Pan Pacific Championships held in the United States.

The meet, which follows only the Olympics and world championships in importance, was seen as a key event in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Upper Hutt's Gareth Kean emerged from the Pan Pacs as a real Commonwealth contender, claiming two gold medals at the junior championships in Hawaii and setting a new national record in the 200m backstroke. He also placed fifth at the senior 200m backstroke final in California.

Kean, who turns 19 in Delhi, is currently ranked third in the Commonwealth and 14th in the world in his discipline.

Emily Thomas, from Auckland, also proved her abilities with a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke at the senior event, finishing in a tie for third with two others. It was New Zealand's first medal at the competition in more than a decade.

At the same event, Natalie Wiegersma, 20, placed fifth in the A final of the 400m individual medley and the women 's 4x200m freestyle team set a new national record, despite their fifth placing.

Sprinter Hayley Palmer, 21, also had a successful meet, bettering her own national record in the 50m freestyle which she set during the Commonwealth Games trials.

The men's squad to Delhi also includes the double Commonwealth medallist Moss Burmester, Glenn Snyders and Daniel Bell.

Burmester, 29, is New Zealand's top-ranked swimmer, claiming gold in the 200m butterfly and bronze in the 100m butterfly at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. He also represented New Zealand at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and at the Athens and Beijing Olympics, finishing fourth in the 200m butterfly in China.

Snyders, 23, has been a key component of the men's medley team since Melbourne 2006 and competed in the men's 100m and 200m breaststroke at Beijing.

Bell, 20, who challenges in the backstroke in Delhi, also swam as part of the fifth-placed men's medley team at Beijing.


Gabrielle Armstrong-Scott is set to become New Zealand's youngest diver to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

The 14-year-old pupil at St Catherine's College in Wellington is the only diver to represent this country in the sport this year. She is the current New Zealand Open 1m springboard and open platform champion, and placed sixth at the World Junior Diving Championships in Tucson in September.

When and where

The Delhi Commonwealth Games features 38 swimming, six diving, two synchronised diving and two synchronised swimming events. All will take place at the Dr S.P.M Aquatics Complex, Talkatora Gardens, from 4-13 October.

NZ team

Swimming, men: Daniel Bell (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, North Shore), Moss Burmester (200m butterfly, Auckland), Glenn Snyders (50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, Auckland), Gareth Kean (200m backstroke, Wellington).

Swimming, women: Lauren Boyle (200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, Berkeley), Melissa Ingram (200m backstroke, Auckland), Hayley Palmer (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay, Auckland), Natalie Wiegersma (200m individual medley, 400m individual medley, Wyndham, Southland), Tash Hind (200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay , Auckland), Penelope Marshall (200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay, Auckland), Amaka Gessler (4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay, North Shore), Emily Thomas (100m backstroke, Auckland).

Diving: Gabrielle Armstrong-Scott (Wellington).

Athletes' profiles sourced from www.olympic.org.nz and event information sourced from http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org