Eleven Oamaru swimmers with high hopes are off to the New Zealand short-course championships in Auckland next week.
Eight of the high-flying squad are relatively seasoned, having some experience of the pressures of a national championship event.
Tiana Mansfield, attending her second championships, will be looking to at least repeat her effort of winning bronze medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke last year.
Senior swimmer Tandia Gooch is more of a middle-distance freestyle and butterfly specialist, and will be looking to maintain and build on her girls 17 200m butterfly ranking of 10th. With 2016 Olympian Helena Gasson and 2015 Youth Olympian Yeonshu Lee also in the event, it will be a good experience for Gooch to watch their technique and strength in the preliminaries and finals.
Another experienced swimmer is Jaxson Macdonald-Piner, who has qualified for his fourth short-course championships and is looking for top-10 finishes in his four sprint events.
In the strong girls 14 years group, there are three Oamaru swimmers returning after a successful 2016 campaign.
Iessha Mansfield is a good medal prospect in her favoured 200m freestyle and will be close in her other three freestyle events, while Alice Petrie (200m butterfly) and Penny Keeling (800m freestyle) are also looking strong in their best events.
Charlie Gilbert (boys 14) is focusing on his long-distance freestyle and building on his provisional ranking of sixth, while Micah Hayes will have a medal in his sights for his 400m and 1500m freestyle events.
There are three new swimmers to the Oamaru team who are experiencing national racing for the first time.
Molly Whittaker, the youngest and newest, attended the Junior Regional Festival in February and since then has been working hard to make the most of all opportunities.
Also new to the national event are Rhys Charles and Mannix Fraser, who both tasted success at the national division two championships in Rotorua in March.
Fraser, who won gold in the boys 14 100m, 200m, 400m freestyle and 200m backstroke at the division two meet, has entered three events in Auckland, and Charles, a division two gold medallist in the boys 13 years 200m fly, tackles six events.
Three Oamaru swimmers – the Mansfield sisters and Hayes – are staying on in Auckland for an invite-only Swimming New Zealand training camp.