New Zealand Teen Sensation Monique Wieruszowski Joins Exodus to Auckland

Monique Wieruszowski; Photo Courtesy: Swimming NZ

New Zealand Teen Sensation Monique Wieruszowski Joins Exodus to Auckland

New Zealand breaststroke star Monique Wieruszowski has become the latest Kiwi medal hope to change training bases this month, moving from Taranaki to Auckland.

Wieruszowski’s decision comes on the heels of Olympian Lewis Clareburt moving from Wellington to Auckland after a dispute over training time and facility availability at a community-owned pool.

Taranaki, on the western edge of New Zealand’s North Island, lacks a 50-meter indoor pool for Wieruszowski to train in, she told media in the country.

“It’s quite frustrating,” she said. “It’s quite hard to get to training and train easily. There’s not that many pools and it’s quite hard to find lanes and everything. “(It’s) only (25m pools) and then a 50m outdoor pool.”

Wieruszowski, 16, is one to watch for the future. In the spring, she set all three national records in breaststroke at age 15. She went on to a silver medal in the women’s 50 breaststroke at the World Junior Championships in the fall.

New Zealand did away with its centralizing training location in 2018 for elite swimmers, which has left them to seek their own fits. Erika Fairweather, for instance, is based in Dunedin on the South Island. The answer, said Swimming NZ Olympic Program Lead Gary Francis, is increased investment, though not necessarily centralization.

“We would love better facilities,” Francis said. “I think when we look at Australia, if we look at almost any other country that’s doing well at swimming, they’ve got superior facilities to us. That’s a big picture issue. What I will say though, is we get great support from our facility providers.”

Francis said the governing body is focusing on doing what’s best for the swimmers to accommodate their training needs. In the case of Wieruszowski, that means a change of schools and scenery.

“It’s just better for my future,” she said.

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