A bigger splash

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Queenstown’s top sports coach couldn’t be happier – ruptured Achilles and all.

The exhaustingly long wait for the resort’s new year-round pool was made all worthwhile last Saturday for swimming club head coach Frank Wylie in the wake of its first event, the Queenstown Early Bird Meet.

Club members “almost let out a collective sigh of, ‘it’s been achieved after years and years’”, says Wylie, who damaged his ankle skiing on Coronet Peak’s last day this season.

Having a year-round pool – Alpine Aqualand opened in June – bore immediate fruits for Wylie’s elite squad at the meet, which attracted 180 swimmers from 18 lower South Island clubs.

“I lost count of the number of personal bests after 10 minutes.”

Sixteen-year-old McGregor Fea also broke club records in the 100-metre individual medley and 100m backstroke.

“That’s an indication the winter training has really put them in good shape – normally we get club records in March.

“We’ve got no excuses now,” Wylie says.

“Essentially in the past, we’ve always said, ‘oh yeah, we only swim over summer’.

“But now I’ve put it to the swimmers that they really can’t hide, we’ve got pretty much all the advantages the city clubs have with their year-round facilities, and it’s up to them to do the business.”

Although delighted with the new facility, Wylie says the club will still use lanes at the old Wakatipu High pool at certain times over summer, with competitive and general swimming club members swelling to 150-plus.