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PORT MORESBY – MAY  31, 2022 :5.11pm (THE NATIONAL) : More than 30 swimmers, including Papua New Guinea representatives Ryan Maskelyne and Georgia-Leigh Vele, competed in the Theodist National Swimming Championships at the Taurama Aquatic and Indoor Centre in Port Moresby over the weekend.

Coordinator Ryan Pini said the championships were part of PNG Swimming Incorporated’s preparations to select a contingent for the Fina World Championships in Melbourne from 13 December. “The aim is to send at least four athletes to attend the short-course (25m) championships, so we need to make sure
that they’re at a certain standard to compete,” the national swimming legend said.

Pini said swimming competitions had been suspended over the last two years due to the Coronavirus pandemic. He said preparations for other events, including next year’s Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands, were slow. With the facilities now in use, the championships were focused on bringing swimming clubs, officials and athletes back to the pool.

“With the difficulty in accessing pools, we’re just beginning to get the clubs started again as of this year and the championships are part it,” 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Pini said. “It’s a slow progress at the moment, building up the squad. “It’s challenging as well for clubs in Port Moresby and Lae to gather the swimmers, coaches and officials for competitions.”

Lae Amateur Swimming Club was not able to attend the championships. But it has been scheduled for short-course tournaments which will be held later this year in preparation for the Fina World Championships. “We only had Boroko Swimming Club participate, but towards the end of the year, we will involve Lae in short-course competitions,” Pini said.

Awards were given to swimmers who performed in the different age categories with the championships graced by Maskelyne and Vele, who are preparing for the Commonwealth Games in July.

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