Aggressive and early action against the oncoming global coronavirus pandemic, along with a unique geography as an island nation, has led to New Zealand declaring itself corona-free on Monday. National health officials says that the last known infected person has recovered in the nation of 5 million.
The result is that nationally, in essence all restrictions, except for border controls, are lifted and life has resumed to normal, at least domestically in New Zealand.
That includes swimming, meaning teams can begin gathering again in full and without restrictions. This also means that domestic competition can begin soon, as there is no restrictions on gatherings.
With that, New Zealand has made its first announcement of an upcoming national competition when it will host the 2020 New Zealand Secondary School Championships from August 20-23 in Hamilton. The next domestic regional meets on the Swimming New Zealand calendar are scheduled for Saturday June 27, with meets continuing regularly after that.
New Zealand National Calendar – 2020
- 2020 Secondary School Championships – August 20-23, Hamilton
- 2020 New Zealand Short Course Championship – October 6-10, Auckland
The country had just over 1,500 total confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 22 deaths. That comes out to a rate of 1 case for about every 3,300 citizens. By comparison, the U.S. has seen about 1 case for every 165 citizens.
The country sent 10 swimmers to last summer’s World Aquatics Championships, where their lone finalist was Lewis Clareburt, who won a bronze medal in the 400 IM. Their other semifinalist was Ali Galyer, who declared her sporting citizenship for New Zealand in 2018 after growing up in the United States. She finished 12th in the women’s 200 back.
The country’s swimming program has been on an upward climb in recent years, including Helena Gasson breaking 7 New Zealand Open Short Course Records in 2019, and Erika Fairweather, who broke a 43-year old age group record in the 400 free last season.