‘Over the moon’ about national win

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Title holder. . . Hokonui Aquatics coach Mariano Nani Garcia and swim mer Marlin Bennett are happy with Marlin’s two medal haul including a first in the 50m freestyle event at the Swimming New Zealand national age group champion ships. PHOTO: MEAGAN MCCABE

Swimming fits nicely with 13-year-old Marlin Bennett’s competitive nature.

The Hokonui Aquatics swimmer won the freestyle men 13 years 50m title at the New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships in Wellington recently.

He also came third in the 50m backstroke.

Swimming was a very competitive sport, Marlin said.

“I find myself a very competitive person, so it fits nicely.”

He was surprised with his results.

“I went in not expecting but trying to get gold.

“I was over the moon.”

He knew he had worked hard and was well-prepared for the competition.

In the long course event he had to swim only one length of the 50m pool and so he and coach Mariano Nani Garcia worked on improving the areas where he could “shave off a couple of milliseconds”.

Finishing well and diving into the pool were two areas the pair concentrated on.

He also focused on his breathing pattern.

“The less breathing you do the quicker you go,” Marlin said.

It paid off because in the 50m he won by 20 milliseconds in a time of 26.13sec.

“I was pretty stoked it all came together.”

Title holder. . . Hokonui Aquatics swimmer Marlin Bennett is very happy with his two medal haul including a first in the 50m freestyle event at the Swimming New Zealand national age group championships. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

He also finished ninth in the 50m butterfly and 12th in the 100m freestyle.

He said he trained six days a week, about 12 hours in total.

It was his “passion for swimming” that kept him motivated.

“I’ve liked swimming ever since I was young.”

His plan was to compete at the Olympics one day.

“I don’t know if I’ll make it or not but it’s worth a go.”

Nani Garcia said he started coaching Marlin as a 10-year-old.

“It’s been an amazing journey with Marlin.

“I am very pleased with him and super proud.”

Marlin kept calm under pressure when it came time to compete, he said.

“He can control his emotions and he has a lot of determination and I think that is what makes a massive difference.”

In the two races Marlin placed in he also broke the Southland record for the distance, Nani Garcia said.