SW Distance Champs

Suitable for all pirates.

When: 26th August
Where: Coastlands Aquatic Centre

Meet Flyer

Swimming Wellington’s Distance meet returns to Coastlands Aquatic Centre. The meet is open to Competitive swimmers aged 12 years and over and will see the best distance swimmers from the region compete in the 800m and 1500m events.

See Swimming Wellington event page for more information.

Date Start Time Venue
26th August See event schedule Coastlands

Queensland State Champs – 2022

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 organization and the level of international involvement in the meet.  At this edition there were South Korean, Japanese, American, European and a large New Zealand contingent competing.  It is an incredibly well organized and efficiently run meet.   Swimmers get to experience a 6 day international meet giving them the opportunity to self-manage, race highly experienced quality swimmers, race in international standard facilities and navigate different meet processes (marshalling, early check in for long races, etc).

A team of 8 Pirates, 1 Brisbane based ex-pirate and 2 Ngā Tai Tūātea a Taraika swimmers attended as part of the team with ages ranging from 15 to 18 years.   The weather conditions were hot, or hotter so having accommodation onsite at the Sleemans Sport complex one-minutes walk away provided the opportunity for swimmers to return to their accommodation between races to rest, fuel and recover.

Racing was very competitive and with so many international and out of state swimmers it was all about racing for PB’s and getting long course experience at this meet.  We had some finals while others made top 10 but missed out on finals due to the visitors rule which limits the number of out of state swimmers in a final but all swimmers put their best foot forward and can be proud of their efforts.

The standard of behavior from the swimmers was outstanding.  All swimmers represented the club and their families well.  All swimmers helped with team chores and the dirt trackers (non-racing swimmers) were keen to assist the swimmers daily.

Heats in the morning ran until early-mid afternoon which left little time for many afternoon activities however we still managed to pack in some fun things and highlights included a visit to the Swimming Beach at Southbank and dinner at a Mexican Cantina, shopping trips to Carindale Westfield Mall and yet more shopping at the DFO Brisbane Airport.  The final night the team went to Eat St where they enjoyed the pre-christmas entertainment and variety of eateries to choose dinner from.

Thanks to Steve for his excellent coaching and guidance of the swimmers on this trip.  As team managers we enjoyed our time with the squad and would highly recommend this trip for senior swimmers to gain international experience at a well organized quality meet.


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.


Apollo Projects Division II

Suitable for yellowbeards, redbeards and blackbeards 13 & over.

When: 16th May – 20th May
Where: Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre

Meet Flyer

Entries will open on 15 March and close Tues 2 May at 11.59pm. Late entries will NOT be accepted.

Age as of 30 April 2023.

See event page for more information.

Date Start Time Venue
21st – 23rd January See session report WRAC

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.