Swimmer sets sights on Florida
A self-confessed water baby, Georgia Marris didn’t realise she was good at swimming until she won the St Cuthbert’s College swimming sports in year 5.
‘‘I remember thinking: ‘ I didn’t know I was so fast!’ ’’
‘‘Ever since then I have been drawn to and consumed by swimming.’’
Now eight years later, Georgia is a record-holding swimmer and has just been awarded a scholarship to the University of Florida.
At the Auckland Winter Championships last year she broke the short course record in 200m freestyle for 16 year olds and at the 2014 New Zealand Age Groups she broke the short course record in 100m freestyle for 17 year olds.
She picked up 24 medals from her two main national competitions in 2014, including gold in the 100m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle at the New Zealand Age Group Long Course Champs.
In September she won her first open medals at national level at the Short Course Nationals, including silver in the 50m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle.
Georgia swims at the United Swimming Club and does seven or eight pool sessions a week with coach Igor Polianski, an Olympic gold medallist.
‘‘I love the feeling of racing and just being in the water,’’ she says.
Georgia was overwhelmed with expressions of interest from more than 100 American universities.
She narrowed down the list to 10, and chose the University of Florida based on its excellent results in NCAA Division 1 College Sport and track record of training swimmers on the international stage.
‘‘You can’t say no to an offer like that – the support in Florida is just incredible.’’
She’s in good company too, with four other Kiwi swimmers also competing at the university, including Commonwealth Games athlete Corey Main.
Georgia leaves for the United States on December 27, starts training two days later and has her first swim meet on January 3.
She’s looking forward to the increased racing opportunities living in the United States will bring and hopes that will prepare her for the 2016 Olympic trials.
Water baby: Georgia Marris is a promising prospect for New Zealand swimming.