© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Kiwi athletes at US colleges stay optimistic despite lockdown measures

James Fleury
SDSU Swim Team at Mountain West Championships 2020

Three US college swimmers from New Zealand have not let lockdown get in the way of preparation for their next swim season.

CBS Sports journalist Jon Rothstein, reported on twitter last month the NCAA was unlikely to grant an extra year of eligibility to winter sports athletes who had their seasons cut short due to COVID-19. 

According to the NCAA, swimming, basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics and indoor track are some of the more popular sports in the winter category. 

Auckland resident and Iowa State University Swimmer, Andie Quirke, said even though major meets she had been working towards were cancelled and preparation for her first season altered, she changed her attitude to stay on track.

"It was when I changed my attitude, I realised it could be actually quite a positive time for self-growth and detox to realise what I really want from life and what's important to me."

Quirke said since then, she was able to get her head around the unexpected change to her freshman year. 

Nelson local and Grand Canyon University Swimmer, Sam Mckenzie, said Kiwi ingenuity had kept his fitness up to standard for his next swim season despite no pool or proper gym to train in. 

"I have been given a programme from my GCU strength and conditioning coach which I complete four times a week using rocks, cords, tiles, and support beams for different excercises."

Mckenzie said he even used a ride-on lawnmower for a benchpress. 

Recently retired San Diego State University Swimmer from Nelson, Caitlin Delany, said the lockdown is a great opportunity for swimmers to reflect and enjoy time out of the water so they don't burn out midway through college.

"I am sure the younger swimmers are disappointed to be missing significant meets, but in turn also believe they are allowing this time to strengthen their mentality needed to remain passionate about the sport and taking some much needed time to deflate from an exhausting 28-hour week season so when they come back to the pool they are refreshed."

Mckenzie and Quirke both said their respective colleges told them they believed the athletes would be back for the start of the season.