Pirates Success at SW Awards

Well done to our huge crew who raced at the Relay Champs. It was fantastic to see so many Pirates racing hard and having fun.

Swim Wellington presented their awards for 2022 and we were the winners of.

2022 Club of the Year
2022 Trygve Cup Champions
Steve Francis won Age Group Coach of the Year 

These awards aren’t possible without the amazing support we have at the Pirates. So a big thanks and well done to all swimmers, committee members, coaches, parents and supporters!


Pirates Success at SW Champs

Over the Long Weekend our 13 and over’s raced at SW Long Course Champs. With over half the teams coming from outside our Region, Pirates had a close tussle with Christchurch’s Wharenui Club, to come out on top of the 32 competing Clubs. A huge moment for the club and a follow up to our win 12 months ago. The situation was a little different this time, and this win is even more special.

Well done to all swimmers who raced their hearts out for the team. Special mention to our 3 Age Group winners of the meet, Declan Broadfoot, Catherine Sonerson and Zac Alexander.

Lastly thanks to all managers, parents and officials for a fun 3 days. As always, it’s a team effort and we couldn’t do it without everyone playing their part.


Queensland State Champs – 2019

QLD champs is a highly competitive state championship.  It is regarded as the premier state champs in Australia because of the qualifying times, the quality of the meet organisation and the level of international involvement in the meet.  At the 2019 meet teams from South Korea, Japan and New Zealand were competing among other nations.  It is however an extremely relaxed and low-key event, where the focus is on swimmers and their coaches not officialdom. It provides swimmers with an opportunity to largely self-manage, race highly experienced quality swimmers, race in international standard facilities and navigate different meet processes.

The team of 13 Pirate swimmers all did a great job and represented their club, families and country with pride. The conditions were extremely hot (we reached 40 degrees one day) and our swimmers all coped beautifully with this as well as their navigation of the new swimming environment.  Morning heat sessions ran through to mid afternoon but we still made time to hit the tourist spots in the late afternoons.  The most popular (highly requested) non swimming activity by far was shopping!  The teens came with their shopping lists and made the exercise of packing for home a squeeze.  The team also visited the Koala Park and South Bank among other activities.

Club Records

Eight club records were broken by four swimmers in Brisbane.  Julia and Sean both broke a club record, with Luc breaking both the 50 and 100m freestyle records set back in 2015.  Joseph broke four club records in the 100, 800 and 1500 freestyle and 400 IM.


Going into an international meet at this early phase of the New Zealand long course season is no easy feat.  In December we are early in the long course season and bereft of long course training (which January camp is awesome for).  The new international conditions and heat add increased obstacles for the swimmers to navigate.  Overall the swimmers swam really well and should all be proud of their efforts.

The team junior, Sean O’Connor-Close (AKA Cobra) smashed the breaststroke events, gaining entry to two evening finals.  It was an outstanding start to his international swimming career!   Luc Speirs picked up a club record and a 100% personal best rate for the meet.  Julia Borlase cracked a club record and made two finals with a 6th in 200 Breaststroke event.  Lucy Borlase also made the 200 breast final and finished 7th.  Sophie Buchanan achieved a 100% personal best rate for the meet.  Elisia Wong qualified for the 200 backstroke final and finished 5th :-).    We had some swimmers coming back from injury and they all showed great progress at the meet.

Club Captain Joseph Stewart excelled across multiple events.  Joseph made three finals and collected two silver medals alongside smashing four club records.  To medal in the 800 and 1500m events at this world class event is a significant achievement which we salute.  We congratulate Steve and Joseph on their extraordinary achievement at this world class meet.  The results yielded are derived from a great partnership and work between the pair.  We can’t wait to see what 2020 brings for you.

See team results on our results page.


Steve and Pirates feature on Stuff

A body covered in ink: Wellington swim coach talks about the prints of a wild youth.

Francis is one extreme example of how judging someone based on their exterior can be well out of sync with reality. The death metal bandmember is also a dedicated husband, father of two and one of the warmest swim coaches in Wellington, if you believe what Pirates Swimming Club kids say about him.

This week Stuff was invited along to watch the swim coach of 20 years at the Karori swimming pool, where Francis coaches pre-schoolers through to adults. The 48-year-old is energised. He greets with a giant wave from the other end of the pool and rushes down to meet with a handshake and a thanks for coming along. His class of 15 teenagers arrive shortly after and, after a long day at school, they are excited to see their coach, even knowing there is a gruelling two hour-long session lined up for them…

See full article on Stuff.

See full article from Sunday Star Times.

Swim coach Steve Francis at Karori Pool, with students Emily Sloan, 7, left, and Scarlett Francis, 9.

Swim coach Steve Francis at Karori Pool, Wellington, with Emily Sloan, 7.


Wellington 800 freestyle boys record

Congratulations to Joseph Stewart on breaking his first Wellington record in the 16 years boys 800 Free!

Great performances from the Pirates last night at the Wellington distance champs. As well as Joseph’s record breaking swim we had some awesome swims to secure Wellington Champs medals. Congrats to Joseph, Finn, Ethan, Lucy and Sophie for medaling ??? . A top night of racing from all Pirates.

See post on facebook


National Age Group Champs – 2019 Wellington

Congratulations to everyone who recently competed at NAGS!

2019 National Age Groups Swim Champs were back in the Capital this year. WRAC was like you have never seen it before. Extra seating was brought in to accommodate over 730 swimmers from several different countries, 200 officials, managers and coaches, and 300 spectators. The atmosphere was alive and dynamic, with the sounds of cheering teams from 8am to 8pm, many voices were lost in the pursuit of verbal dominance.

We had a strong team of 18 athletes who donned the new black skullcaps to represent the Pirates Swim Club. The Team of teens were fantastic – in and out of the water. In the water, there were 6 medals (3 bronze, 2 silvers, 1 gold), Open qualification times, club records, and pb’s galore.

Out of the water, they were a cooperative team, screaming in support of their teammates, sharing stories, laughs, and the all important snacks. We were also privileged to have a visitor on our team. Ariana from Tokyo, swam under our skull and cross bones, with pride. She broke clubs records and brought home a gold. She seamlessly transitioned into our team, and we hope she gets back to New Zealand to swim with us again.

The week was super busy, as Champs always are. It all started on Tuesday, the evening session had the opening ceremony, with Sean, Ariana and Elaina walking in the parade to represent the Pirates. The when fast and furious but Saturday afternoon, we had a timeout for a farewell lunch for Ariana and her Mum, Kellie. Then on to Saturday night, the last session, full of laughs and mayhem, the non swimmers showed up in hi-viz so their swimmer team mates (and everyone else) were sure to see them. Steve gave them a to-do list with funny tasks to keep them out of trouble. It mostly worked. Meanwhile the Saturday night swimmers went hard and nearly pb’ed all their races. Such an awesome week with awesome people, let’s swim, sleep, repeat and do it all again next year!!


Division 2 – 2019 Dunedin

Well done to our awesome team who recently competed at the Div 2 champs in Dunedin.

9 Pirates swimmers headed away for 4 days of racing in Dunedin competing against over 550 other swimmers from around the country. Moana pool proved an excellent venue with great facilities for our swimmers (and an efficient coffee cart to keep coach Liam happy.) 4 of our swimmers picked up NAGs times and the team bought home 5 medals. The team had an impressive total of pbs with many swimmers achieving a pb rate of 100%.

It was fantastic to see the swimmers come together as a team, supporting each other, and making new friends with swimmers from other Wellington clubs. Pirates made a special connection with Masterton who we welcomed with Liam coaching them.

Dunedin’s location and size meant we even had time to head up the steepest street in the world, blow out the cobwebs running down the sand dunes on St Kilda beach and for a hardy few a dip in the sea. Thanks to Coach Liam for his enthusiasm – motivating and coaching the swimmers through the long days. He showed more of his talents when helping with homework. Div 2 is a great place for our swimmers to learn and hone racing skills in a fun supportive environment. Bring on 2020!