An 18-strong Papua New Guinea team will line-up on the starting blocks at the Oceania Swimming Championships in Auckland tomorrow, as the country ramps up preparations for next year's Pacific Games.
The squad is a mix of local swimmers from Moresby and Lae, while the other half are based in Brisbane.
2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ryan Pini says the meet, which features 150 swimmers from 14 countries including Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, is an opportunity to test themselves against the rest of Oceania and target some personal best times.
"We've got some really good funding coming through from the Government, and that's allowed us to send a bigger team here with all the flights [and] accommodation getting all the team here. We've got some really good opportunities this year with training camps in Australia to get experience there with other coaches, to give them different views on coaching, plus a few competitions in Australia and world short-course later on this year so there's some really good opportunities and we're looking at getting these kids the most exposure they can".
Ryan Pini says the Oceanias will also be a valuable chance to swim in a full 50m Olympic pool, which isn't available in PNG at the moment.