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Medal man... St Peter's College pupil Xander Marsh came back to Gore from the 2018 Swimming New Zealand division 2 competition with five medals. PHOTO: LUCY MCDONOUGH

Xander Marsh (15) competed at the 2018 Swimming New Zealand division 2 competition last week and returned home with three gold medals and two silver.

Xander, who began swimming competitively two years ago, travelled to Rotorua with the Swimming Southland team.

Southland had nine members at the division 2 competition, he said.

To qualify for the event, Xander attended swim meets in 2017 at which he achieved qualifying times.

“Over time, I just built up my times,” Xander said.

In Rotorua he competed in nine races. He won the boys 15 years 400m freestyle and 100m freestyle and was in the winning the mixed-age zonal relay team.

He also placed second in the 15 years 50m and 200m freestyle.

Xander said his 400m freestyle race was very close between the top three competitors.

He posted personal best times in all his events, apart from the 400m backstroke, he said.

His success qualified him for the 2018 Swimming New Zealand age group championships, to be held in Auckland from April 17-21.

“I’m excited but nervous.”

Last week’s competition put him in good stead for the coming national competition, he said.

Xander would now try to improve his times.

“This was my first big meet. I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go,” he said.

“I thought I was going to maybe be in the finals.”

Gore swimmer Sophie Shallard (14) will also attend the age group championships.