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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.

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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

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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!!

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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!

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WHiPA Lloyd Morrison Reaching for the Podium scholarship

Congratulations to swimmer Julia Borlase who has been awarded a WHiPA Lloyd Morrison Reaching for the Podium scholarship.

Julia Borlase is currently 16 years old and swims with the Pirates Swim Team under coach Steve Francis. She has been swimming competitively for 5 years and was encouraged to join by her sister after she began. Since joining, Julia has found a love for the sport and has gone on to achieve many goals.

At her first New Zealand Age Group Nationals, Julia surprised everyone by getting a gold medal in the Girls 14 year old 200m breaststroke. A year later she gained a bronze medal at the New Zealand Open Championships in the same event, qualifying her for the New Zealand Development Squad. Last December she also won a bronze medal at the Queensland State Championships in the 200 Breaststroke in a massive 2 second personal best, gaining her a spot on the Youth Olympics Long List.

This year, after a successful National Age Group Nationals (2 Golds, 1 Silver and a Bronze) she was placed on the New Zealand 2018 Australian State Team. At the moment she is training hard to achieve goal times and enjoy the sport as much as she can.

She hopes that the WHiPA Scholarship will enable her to take the next step in the sport and push her to greater success as well as providing important support.

Congratulations Julia!