Div­ing in with a goal in mind

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - ELEANOR WENMAN

As 13-year-old Pierce Collins stepped up to the start­ing blocks for his swim­ming races he had one goal in mind.

To break his own na­tional record for the 200 me­tre but­ter­fly in his age group.

At the Aon New Zealand Na­tional Age Group Cham­pi­onships held in April, Pierce man­aged to not only smash that record, he also broke the record for the 100m but­ter­fly too.

‘‘The 200 fly was on the first day so I was a bit ner­vous about that but my coach said it would be all good to just get it out of the way,’’ the Hutt Val­ley High School stu­dent said.

His new record for the 200m but­ter­fly stands at 2:13:92, down from his pre­vi­ous time of 2:17:73.

His record for the 100m was 1:00:63.He said the trick for him was hav­ing a race plan.

‘‘You don’t want to just go out and go your hard­est. It’s a big race, so you would just die.’’

He paced him­self each 50 me­tres, slowly in­creas­ing speed so he didn’t run out of steam too early.

Pierce com­peted at the Auck­land meet last year, where he first set the 200m record.

Go­ing back in, he felt more pre­pared.

‘‘It was dif­fer­ent from last year in Auck­land be­cause I was more con­fi­dent in my­self.’’

His per­for­mance has net­ted him a spot in the New Zealand team com­pet­ing in the Aus­tralian State Teams Cham­pi­onships in Oc­to­ber.

The young swim­mer has been train­ing hard at SwimZone in Lower Hutt and works with coach Frank Torel­lue.

Pierce has five or six swim­ming ses­sions a week and some­times starts as early as 5.30am, al­though he’s had a bit of a break lately as his nor­mal pool in Nae­nae has been closed for the last cou­ple of weeks.

‘‘When I was re­ally young, my par­ents got me into swim­ming,’’ he said.

Mum Fiona said, with three kids, tak­ing them to swim­ming was the per­fect way to tire them out.

‘‘They all had lots of en­ergy. We would come back from swim­ming and they would’ve burned off that en­ergy.’’

She said they also knew it was im­por­tant to learn how to swim as a New Zealan­der since there were so many places - pools, rivers and beaches - to swim at.

EU­GENE COLLINS

Thir­teen-year-old Pierce Collins at the 2018 Aon New Zealand Na­tional Age Group Cham­pi­onships held in Auck­land.

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