Elite Auckland swimmers back in the pool after long lockdown

Source: 1News

There’s been some relief at last for some of New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games hopefuls who are back training in Auckland after nearly four months on the sidelines.

High performance athletes have been allowed back to the Millennium Institute in limited numbers after a frustrating time in lockdown.

Paralympics gold medallist Tupou Neiufi joked the absence was noticeable on Wednesday.

“[After] my first session I struggled to lift myself out of the pool!”

For Neiufi, Wednesday was more than just the chance to train again, three months after that special night in Tokyo.

“Just to be back in [the pool], I was just smiling the whole time,” she said.

“I was in the water, I'm so grateful.”

Neiufi was scheduled to hit back into training for a massive 2022, as soon as she arrived home from Tokyo only to hit Auckland's lockdown due to the Delta outbreak.

“We can't buy that time back, three months is a hell of a lot longer than what we thought,” Neiufi's coach Sheldon Kemp said.

Usually on a weekday morning, the Millennium National Training Centre on Auckland’s North Shore is a hive of activity ranging from school kids to athletes, medical teams, high performance staff and more but at Level 3, it was a ghost town.

On Wednesday morning though, five swimmers all aiming for next year's world championships and Commonwealth Games – including Neiufi – breathed some life in to the place by training again, in a real, full sized pool.

The session had previously been cleared with WorkSafe and the national body.

Outside, trackside, some of our national polevaulters, were slowly getting used to poles again too with Auckland sport looking to raise the bar quickly for 2022.