Team off to Fiji

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MEMBERS of the New Zealand South synchronised swimming team are making final touches to their routines ahead of the Oceania Championships in Fiji next week.
The team is one of two New Zealand teams heading to the biennial championships. The other is a North Island-based team.
The South team is made up entirely of members of the Phoenix Synchronised Swimming Club — Aleisha Braven (captain), Anastasia Wilkes, Arielle Wilkes, Aleisha Elliotte, Ali Robertson, Ellena Pritchard, Jessica Puki, Piper Keast-Wilson and Renee Baird.
Phoenix Club officials Michelle Anderson, Caitlin Anderson and Amber Frith will also attend as judges.
Coach Kirstin Anderson said the team qualified for the championships after placing second at last year’s spring nationals in Dunedin.
The team had been training 23 hours a week for the past five months in preparation for the competition, she said.
‘‘We are aiming to podium… Our chances are pretty good.’’
The team will compete in the open free combination team routine category. Elliotte and Robertson will also compete in the 13-15 age group duet category, Elliotte will compete in the 13-15 age group solo category and Braven will compete in the solo open free category and the open tech solo category.
She said the team was feeling ‘‘pretty confident’’ about the competition and was aiming high, hoping to place first.
‘‘Training had been pretty intense and we feel we are ready.’’
Braven thanked the ILT Foundation, Phoenix Synchronised Swimming Club, the Community Trust of Southland and the team coaches for their support.

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