The Mainland Tactix are hoping to make a big splash in their first preseason matches in Timaru this weekend, having put in all the work on the court and in the pool.
For the past few seasons, the 2020 Premiership runners-up, have been getting swimming lessons once a week at Jellie Park in Christchurch from Roly Crichton; the man who’s coached Sophie Pascoe to Paralympic glory.
Tactix head coach, Marianne Delaney Hoshek, said it adds an extra edge to their programme.
“He’s good at the mental side too so when they’re swimming it’s not just about being in the pool, he relates it to netball and our on-court mindset,” she said.
Roly splits the session up into quarters, to replicate a netball game.
“It’s the last quarter stuff (most important).. breathing.. and it’s about when you’re tired and want to stop and give up, you keep going,” he said.
The netballers have also noticed increased confidence in their swimming ability.
“Roly’s trying to get me to sign up to triathlons in the off season now,” said Charlotte Elley, Tactix midcourter.
But it’s the “trade-off” that makes this sporting relationship most special.
It’s become a tradition for the side to head round to his place, and do a deep clean to help out Roly and his flatmate Snow-balls who’re both in wheelchairs.
“We just help him in areas they can’t reach and it’s great for us to get out and spend time helping clean the windows and cars and stuff like that,” said Tactix shooter, Jess Prosser.
Roly told 1 NEWS it means a lot to him, to have their support.
“I just want them to win,” he said.