Monday, 27 August 2018

Mark Saunders Awarded Life Membership by Swimming New Zealand

Our very own Mark Saunders was recently awarded life membership by Swimming New Zealand in recognition for his many years of service to the swimming industry. His service started in 1987 as coach and committe member for the Te Puke Swimming club. He then moved on to the BOP region where he was Chair of the Events committee for several years.  During this time Mark was elected to SENZ National board– Swimming Education NZ - on which he served for 5 years.  In 1995 Mark was appointed as assistant manager to a NZ age group Tri series Team, this was the start of what would end up being 21 years of managing various NZ Teams. These teams included 2 Olympics, 2 Commonwealth
Games, 3 Pan Pacific Championships, 3 Long course World Championships and 2 short course championships as well as other NZ age and open team trips to Australia with Rio being his last managerial role.

Mark and his family moved to Auckland in 1997 where he started working for SNZ as a development officer, this culminated with being appointed National Education Manager in 2001 which was a position he held for 4 years.  He was also a NZ Selector for 6 years.

Currently, Mark is the Director of Swimming at Northern Arena, the award also acknowledged the work Northern Arena has done in giving back to the community.  This facility was opened in January 2011 by the then Prime Minister John Key.

Mark says he enjoys his time giving back to swimming both at community level and to Swimming NZ and International level. The highlight would be The Commonwealth Games Team of 2006 where the team had a great atmosphere and won 10 medals equalling the most medals won outside of NZ. This team had a great culture and they all kept contact.

His greatest supporters are his wife, son and daughter in-law who all work at Northern Arena and his daughter living in Rarotonga.   Mark says he was very thankful that all were able to be at the awards with him.

Mark grew up in TePuke, which was where his dad taught him to swim.  At age 7 he joined the club and started his competitive career at age 8 with his first national competition being the Caltex Competition where the winners were flown to Wellington for the National Finals.  This event was never repeated, however, 3 years later Swimming NZ started the Teleprinters which evolved to become NZ Juniors where Mark won Silver for the 100 fly.

At the age of 25, while living in Brisbane a friend suggested to Mark to  join a masters club so he joined the Valley Club and competed at many events throughout Australia and it was at one of these events where he met Tom Logan. On his return to the Bay of Plenty Mark joined the Durham Light Masters Club in Tauranga and then the North Shore Masters after moving to Auckland.  Mark has been swimming for masters for over 40 years now.  Nowadays he does not compete very often due to work and family commitments, but he did participate in the World Masters Games in 2017 and said he thoroughly enjoyed it and is planning to get back into competing as soon as time allows for more training.  In his own words "I enjoy many aspects of Masters Swimming but the friends I have made make it something I will always cherish."

Congratulations Mark you are a well deserved recipient and we wish you all the best for the future!

The Rio Olympics Swim Swim Team

Kazan World Champioships watching Lauren Boyle win Silver

Kazan World Champioships 2015

Beijing 2008 Swim Team

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