Monday, 21 October 2019

Celebrating The Life of a Great Man - Lyall Mortimer



Lyall Mortimer

24 June 1939 - 24 September 2019

With sadness, Ingrid Saxton (former President of NZMS between 1999 and 2003) and I attended the funeral service of Lyall Mortimer in Lower Hutt on 1 October 2019 and were able to speak on behalf of NZMS. Lyall had died on 26 September. 

Lyall is one of the most important figures in the history of NZ Masters Swimming. He was a former President of the Huia Masters Swimming Club which had started in 1982 and, whilst also a participant in Masters Swimming events, he quickly became known as an administrator. He was Vice-President of NZMS in 1989-1990 and 1990- 1991 and then became President of NZMS for three years in the 1992-1993, 1993- 1994 and 1994-1995 terms. Lyall represented NZMS on the New Zealand Swimming Federation Board from 1993 to 2006. This was the predecessor body to Aquatics NZ. 

Lyall was also the NZMS representative on the Hilary Commission Group on Masters Sport, chaired by the late Sir Brian Lochore but his most signal achievement was membership of the FINA Masters Swimming Committee from 1997 to 2009. In his last term he was Chairman of the' Committee, and thought to be the first New Zealander to hold such a position within FINA. In 2009 at the FINA dinner in Rome Lyall was awarded a silver pin by FINA for services to Masters Swimming. 

It was clear from the large numbers present at his funeral and the warm addresses in his memory from his t ree daughters, Chris, Ginny and Ange, that he was highly regarded as a family man. Born in Gore, Lyall had spent his early years in Southland before moving to other parts ,,of the South Island and then later the North Island before eventually settling in Lower Hutt. When he retired he worked for the Ministry of Health as an OSH inspector. Family melnbers spoke of his ability to fix anything about the house, his ability to rebuild a car engine and his habit of hoarding nuts and bolts and various other items in his garage. This likeable and capable man made a huge contribution to Masters Swimming in NZ and will be fondly remembered. 

He is survived by his wife, Dawn, and, as mentioned, his three daughters. 

Ed Evelly, Secretary of the FINA Masters Committee sent his condolences. He and his wife, Claudine, had holidayed with Lyall and Dawn and had become very good friends. 

In his later years Lyall was affected by Parkinson's and suffered from cancer but nevertheless lived to the fine age of 80 years. 

Roger Eagles

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Hyogo Prefecture Masters Swimming Championships in Kobe City

Last year, Swimming NZ signed a ‘friendship agreement’ with Kobe City in Japan. As part of this relationship, Kobe City has informed Swimming NZ that it would like to provide NZD$10,000 to enable four (4) NZ Masters swimmers to attend the 2019 Hyogo Prefecture Masters Swimming Championships in Kobe City on Sunday 4 August. The $10,000 was split four ways to help cover flights, accommodation and race entries.

NZMS selected Oli Lusk from Tasman Gold Masters Nelson, Debbie Hambly from Raumati Masters, Steve Prescott from Dunedin Masters and Chris Bishop from Waitakere Masters, to attend the Swimming Championships.

Read what Oli, Deb and Christopher had to say about the Championship:

"Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to Kazuko Tapper, our Cultural Liaison Officer, for sorting us out with everything we needed and being so quick to help whenever we had questions. The trip couldn't have gone smoother without her!
Also, I just wanted to say how blown away we all were with the hospitality shown to us by Mr Miyazaki and the rest of the team. They made us feel so welcome in their country! The swimming competition itself was such a lot of fun and so well run (I wish it could have been longer than just one day!). We were really well looked after, and we had three fantastic English-speaking students to help us get to our events on time and answer any questions we might have. They even bought us all lunch to keep us going during the day! One thing I particularly liked was the tradition of bowing to the officials and crowd before and after racing! I know we all want to come back in 2021!
The dinner afterwards was fantastic! We went to a Chinese restaurant near the pool, where we got to meet some of the officials from the competition. Again, the hospitality was incredible.

Outside of the swimming, having 3 full days to explore Kobe and Kyoto (via the amazing bullet train!) was fantastic! I really enjoyed getting immersed in a culture quite different to ours in NZ. We covered some serious distance on foot and I was absolutely knackered by the end (largely due to the heat!).

Lastly I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed getting to know Chris, Steve and Deb. They are a great bunch of people and I hope to keep in contact with them. This whole experience has really motivated me to keep up my training and set new goals! I've got to be fighting fit for 2021 now 😉
Oli Lusk

"The trip to Japan was absolutely amazing., and an experience that i will remember for a very long time. The four of us from New Zealand who had not met before have made lasting friendships , and of course the way Kaz Tapper took care of everything was simply outstanding.

The Swim Meet was run as you would expect like clock work, and i believe there was close to 600 competitors on the day. Our little team of four did exceptionally well , with Oli, and Deb, both picking up GOLDS.

In order to actually get to the starting blocks, you had to go via a four tiered process with officials checking and identifying swimmers along the way. The officials couldnt have done any more for us on the day, which is a great advert for 2021, and which all four of us have identified as a must do.

We stayed at The Pearl City Harbour Hotel , which was probably a 10 to 15 minute walk from the pool , and in a very quite part of the city. During our time we took the opportunity to explore Kobe , and also visited Kyoto.

The temp, was in the high thirties most days, and unusually hot, so we certainly got through a large quantities of water and energy type drinks."
Finally I would like to thank Swimming NZ for this opportunity which i feel we were all privileged to experience. I am certianly keen to participate in many more competitions."
 Christopher Bishop

"I arrived in Kobe by bullet train taking in the famed Mount Fuji on the way thanks to the great value 7 day JR pass. I felt like a VIP with my name on a placard to help me find our host. Kazuko Topper, our Swim NZ contact was our virtual real life guardian angel – not that we needed any protection – Japan is super safe. When I needed to withdraw cash and get some dinner my first night, she would send route maps faster than I could look them up on my goggle maps.

I didn’t need to look far to find either food or travellers provisions at any 7-11, which were dotted seemingly everywhere. With a high population and excellent transport infrastructure the food was always super fresh. For between $5 and $7 NZD I could buy any number of ready to eat meals, which would re-heat on the spot.

The hotel’s massive buffet breakfast included food from at least 5 different cultures, in addition to a

Western offering. I discovered that soup and seaweed and salad for breakfast is awesome. I found myself constantly taking photographs of food, real or plastic! We took in the miraculous vertical positions of divine looking deserts and huge varieties of food in storefronts. Plastic food is a fine art in Japan so one is easily tempted! Apparently Kobe is the 2nd best place in Japan for desserts (not to mention the famous Steaks).
While exploring, we took breaks in the local cafes. Ice-creams were everywhere and so were 2L bottles of a popular electrolyte drink called ‘Sweat.’ I think the drink would need a rebranding in NZ, but when the weather app showed the temp “feeling like 39 degrees” our English speaking teammates ignored the name and just kept hydrated! We took a subway, bus and tram to reach Rokko Mountain’s spectacular harbour views of and more cold deserts and drinks.

The night before the meet we took in a reconnaissance swim, purchasing tickets from a vending machine and stored our gear in the free lockable units, which are literally at every tourist attraction and train station in Japan. We had the 50-meter ten lane pool to share with one or two others!

For dinner we spotted an Ikea store not far from the hotel, and given we couldn’t bring any furniture home I convinced the others we could at least have a hearty meal in cheerful cafeteria- style restaurant.

The next morning we arrived at the giant pool complex after a ten minute walk. The meet programme was entirely in Japanese except for the event numbers, participant ages and our names! We were able to follow the meet programme without help as the times were accurate.

We were warmly welcomed with cheers by the crowd thanks to the message on the huge digital board. We had no idea the level of competition other than that there were 600 entries. The meet was brilliantly organised with a waiting area where you could stretch until your heat was called followed by 5 martially mats for stretching. Everyone was super friendly even if they couldn’t speak English and some could speak other shared languages (French) so we had lots of great exchanges and trading of swim gear.

My first race was going to be my best shot as it was the longest race (200IM). I had seen some of my competitors’ times from the heat before and I had a few more in my heat. My team-mates captured my name and my (slowest of all by a second) reaction time off the adjustable starting blocks. However, I caught up took first. In my other events (100 Fly and 100 Free) I came in 2nd place.

Later, in foyer area I noted each team had basketfuls of certificates. I found beautiful certificates, one with a summary of my 3 races including splits, and another gilded in gold print with beautiful Japanese calligraphy. When I retrieved the second one, the volunteers made a big deal brought out a beautifully packed medal. Kazuko later messaged that I had also achieved a meet record. However, when I expressed my surprise she did note that this meet had not been going for very long.

That evening our hosts walked us to another lovely restaurant with a beautiful buffet dinner complete with a variety of local desserts. We had another medal and certificate presentation with officials from the Kobe Swimming office.

It was a whirlwind few days in Kobe that had the perfect balance between sightseeing, trying local food, meeting new people and swimming!"

Deborah Hambly

Winner of the SwimT3 $100 voucher -


Fiona Young 

You are the lucky winner of our $100 Swim T3 voucher

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Upcoming Events

2019 Huia Master Spring Fun Meet:  14 September 2019:  Enter

2019 NZMS North Island Short Course Championships: 20 September 2019:  REGISTER

2019 Raumati Masters Swim Meet:  19 October 2019:  Enter

2019 National Long Course Championships: To be held in Auckland 22nd and 23rd November.

New Zealand Masters Games Pool and Open Water Swimming – 7th-9th February 2020:

Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series:

Harcourts Cooper & Co King of the Bays:  7 Dec
Interislander Capital Classic:  26 January 2020
Generation Homes La Grande:  22 February 2020
Interislander The Big Tahuna:  7 March 2020
Gerneation Homes Legend of the Lake: 21 - 22 March 2020
Generation Homes Sand to Surf:  4 April 2020
Harcourts Cooper & Co Swim the Bridge: 25 April 2020

For more information visit: 

2018 Shear Magic One Hour Postal Event 2018 RESULTS

For official event results please visit

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Upcoming Events

Taupo Spring Fling:  17 & 18 August 2019.  Entry Form

2019 NZMS South Island Short Course Championships:  23 August 2019. REGISTER

2019 NZMS North Island Short Course Championships: 20 September 2019:  REGISTER

2019 Raumati Masters Swim Meet:  19 October 2019:  Enter

2019 National Long Course Championships: To be held in Auckland 22nd and 23rd November.
New Zealand Masters Games Pool and Open Water Swimming – 7th-9th February 2020:

Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series:

Harcourts Cooper & Co King of the Bays:  7 Dec
Interislander Capital Classic:  26 January 2020
Generation Homes La Grande:  22 February 2020
Interislander The Big Tahuna:  7 March 2020
Gerneation Homes Legend of the Lake: 21 - 22 March 2020
Generation Homes Sand to Surf:  4 April 2020
Harcourts Cooper & Co Swim the Bridge: 25 April 2020

For more information visit: 

2018 Shear Magic One Hour Postal Event 2018 RESULTS

For official event results please visit

Swim T3 $100 voucher GIVEAWAY

HOORAY we have reached a 1000 facebook likes and in celebration we are giving away 1 x $100 Swim T3 voucher to a lucky facebook liker.

To go into the draw all you need to do is like our fb page AND subscribe to our masterscrawl blog.

We will announce the winner 11 August.

  How to go into the draw:

1. Like the NZMS facebook page below or visit our page


2. Subscribe to the Masterscrawl Blog by entering you email address below or use the Follow by email option in main menu to the right of the NZMS blog screen.  Please ensure you verify your email address.

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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Meet Paulette Tasker

Paulette has always loved swimming and started swimming for Masters 30 years ago, her first club was Northland but she has been swimming for Waitakere Masters for the past 20 years. She has traveled across New Zealand participating in many events over the years and at the age of 25 Paulette set off for her big OE and fittingly started her travels by participating in the World Masters Champs in Sheffield. 

Paulette says she tries to get in the pool at least once or twice a week and in the summer, she adds an ocean session to her routine. Ocean swimming is where her true passion lies because she loves the challenge of ever changing conditions, the tactics involved and the feel of being at one with nature, her biggest challenge to date has been the 20km Chopper Challenge Fundraiser swim from Waiheke Island to Auckland City. Paulette met her husband, Gavin, through Masters swimming and is fortunate that he is more than happy to spend hours in the kayak as her support person. 

When Paulette is not in the pool or ocean she is busy being a busy mum of 2 awesome boys, James and Daniel and is a Teacher Aide at Arohanui Special School. She loves spending time with family and enjoys a good book. There is no one main person that inspires her instead what inspires her are people, that are positive; have a zest for life; have personal challenges they have overcome; give of themselves through time and energy to help others.

Her plans for the future are to continue supporting Masters Pool Meets which take a lot of hard work for clubs to organize. She plans to do more swims that will challenge her and hopes to combine travel and swimming and participate in events across the world and even maybe go on an exotic swimming holiday one day. 

Some pearls of wisdom from Paulette: “Treat others how you would like to be treated; Trust your gut instinct; Listen to advice but only take what is relevant to you; & Do what makes you happy ! “

All the best for your future swims and we hope you get to go on your swimming holiday soon!