Swimming official on world stage

Carlrine Gillespie on the right at the recent Swimming New Zealand open championships

Dargaville’s Carlrine Gillespie has been selected to work poolside at the Fina World Swimming Championships in Hungary in July and at the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico at the end of September.

Fina — the Fédération Internationale de Natation — is the governing body recognised by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competition in water sports.

Carlrine is chair of Swimming Northland and her road to being an official started 14 years ago, when her daughter Taryn started competing and she became a timekeeper at local meets. But she “never thought it would lead to the international arena.”

The selection process is rigorous and Carlrine says she was expecting a long wait before being picked for anything, let alone be selected for the two international competitions.

Officials are picked from the Fina list, and Swimming New Zealand only put forward Gillespie’s name in January.

“My goal was to get on that list as it’s so hard to get on. So I’m just really happy to get some appointments,” she said.

Carlrine’s husband Ross is also on a Fina list for open-water swimming.

“It’s such a big thing for Northland, that Dargaville has two Fina officials — we’ve never had that before.

“Every sport needs their officials. At national meets, probably 97% of officials don’t have kids swimming so we all do it because we love to do it — it’s my sport.”

The Fina World Championships will be held in Budapest from July 14 to 30, at the new Dagaly Swimming Complex; and the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City from September 30 to October 6, at the Francisco Marquez Olympic Swimming Pool. 

In her career thus far, Ms Gillespie has attended a five-day para swimming course in Singapore and the Oceania Swimming Championships last year in Fiji.

Fina has awarded the world championships to Budapest after it built an ultra-modern swimming complex — described as a state-ofthe-art venue.

“It’s exciting getting there as the complexes are just so different,” said Carlrine.

“We don’t have anything that matches them in New Zealand. It will be an eye-opener.”


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