New Zealand Marches On In March Madness Of Cancellations: Olympic Trials To Be Held Without Spectators

Michael Pickett, 50m Freestyle. AON Swimming New Zealand National Open Swimming Championships, National Aquatic Centre, Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday 4 July 2018. Photo: Simon Watts/

By  Dave Crampton

Swimming New Zealand is the only federation worldwide that has announced this week that it will be holding Olympic trials this month. In an announcement today, Swimming New Zealand said the New Zealand Open Championships, due to start in Auckland on March 31, will be held but with no spectators. It is understood that if a swimmer feels unwell during the meet, they will have to leave the venue and will be refunded meet entry fees.

The previous day, the New Zealand government  announced that anybody travelling to New Zealand, apart from those from the Pacific Islands, will have to self-isolate for 14 days from midnight Sunday to Monday local time in an attempt to contain the coronavirus  (COVID-19) pandemic, which has had eight confirmed cases in New Zealand. An eight-member team from Singapore had intended to compete at the championships.

As a result of the announcement,  three teenage swimmers who are based at the Australian St Peter’s Western club, Eve Thomas, Michael Pickett and Lea Muellner,  made a mad dash into New Zealand to beat the strict coronavirus quarantine border controls, that would force the swimmers to miss the trials. Thomas is seeking to qualify for Tokyo, having already swam under the qualifying time.

Later this week, Swimming New Zealand  will be announcing dates of an additional Olympic trial event in June  for those athletes who are not able to compete at  this month due to the  inbound travel restrictions or are unable to trial at northern hemisphere events due to those events being cancelled.

Extraordinary Events In Swimming History:

Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Japan have all had major meets affected by the coronavirus pandemic, while in the United States, the NCAA Championships have been cancelled and USA Swimming has imposed a 30-day suspension on all events, while Canada is considering what to do about its Olympic trials early next month. In Italy, where swimmers are struggling to maintain normal routines, can’t get to practice and in some cases find pool time, a #stopolympics campaign was launched by the Nuoto website calling on solidarity among swimming nations to recognise that Olympic preparations have been blown off course and that it would be in the interests of fairness to postpone the Games for a time of calm beyond the coronavirus crisis. 

Our coverage:

Guidance on Water and Coronavirus 

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dick Beaver
4 years ago

Congratulations New Zealand! SOME intelligence among all this STUPIDITY.

Craig Lord
4 years ago
Reply to  Dick Beaver

Dick Beaver NZL 8 cases … Italy more than 21000 cases, more than 1400 deaths … stupidity is not listening to experts… which NZL did … and imposed the stringent border controls

Jennifer Hunter
4 years ago
Reply to  Dick Beaver

Is it luck or good management that seems us in this position? Until this weekend NZ too has been relaxed about covid 19
Self isolating isn’t stringent enough we should shut our borders completely. It’s times like this though that I love being a kiwi in our slice of paradise – I hope it stays this way

Dick Beaver
4 years ago
Reply to  Dick Beaver

Jennifer Hunter I love your Kiwi love. I also like the fact that your amazing Kiwi swimming leadership has the intestinal fortitude/guts, and intelligence, to make their own decisions that seem to go against this worldwide mass hysteria.
How many Kiwi’ s have died so far?
How many people identified as having this virus so far?
And what is the total NZ
The numbers just don’t add up to the amount of mass hysteria.
Yes. Do your best prevention. But please support your future swimming Olympians, and their families, who have sacrificed for years. HUGS from across the Pacific.

Jennifer Hunter
4 years ago
Reply to  Dick Beaver

We have 8 confirmed cases of covid 19 here now but no community spread – it has come from people who have travelled into the country.
No deaths. None of the patients have been very ill only one required hospitalisation. Our population is 5 million. The next 2 weeks are crucial for us as if we make it through that time without the spread a community outbreak is low. We banned cruise ships and today large gatherings over 500 are banned- breaking self isolation today we have been told results in deportation if you are a tourist or you can be held in a medical facility. Schools are practising on line learning in anticipation for closures. Hopefully the mistakes I the rest of the world are not replayed here. My son is a swimmer 14 years old he has been training hard fir nationals in mid April. We hear tomorrow if it’s cancelled ….. or just spectators banned – I’m hoping the latter

Darren John
4 years ago

Mike Roberts

Karl Poole
4 years ago

lol no spectators, so nothing is going to change?

Kathleen Klein Prindle

Lara Chabina Crowe. For jeff

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x