Hokonui Aquatics Shark Squad swimmers have emerged victorious despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 alert levels.
The 22-member squad won the Southland Short Course Championships held in Invercargill recently.
Coach Mariano Nani Garcia said he was proud of the squad, which had overcome many obstacles amid restrictions.
“I feel like the swimmers put a lot of effort to not give up despite Covid and not having competitions.”
Members were not phased by having to wear masks and follow other Alert Level 2 restrictions while attending the meet.
“They are still having a blast, a good time.”
The last time the swimmers competed was in August.
It was hard to set goals when there were no competitions to aim for, he said.
He had heard many swimmers throughout the country were giving up swimming.
At the championships many of the swimmers placed in the top three of their events.
“That is how we score so many points.”
It was the first time in the four and a-half years since he had been coaching the squad that it had won the championship.
The squad was fortunate it could train at the Gore Aquatic Centre, he said.
“It makes a big difference.
“We’ve been training out of public hours.
“It’s been incredibly hard, like a very tough and stressful year for all of us.”