1 Apr 2009

Experience hard to replace for swimmers

8:34 am on 1 April 2009

The New Zealand Open Swimming Championships start today in Christchurch without a number of familiar names from past years.

Olympic veterans Dean Kent, Helen Norfolk, Hannah McLean and Alison Fitch have all retired from competitive swimming, leaving a large void in the national swim team.

Former national coach Jan Cameron, now the General Manager for Pathways and Performance, says while there's plenty of talent on the horizon, it will take time to replace such a huge amount of experience.

The national champs are the sole selection opportunity for July's World Championships in Rome, which are a key stepping stone for next year's Commonwealth Games and the 2012 London Olympics.