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Hambly eyes Masters medals

Deborah Hambly with her medals won in the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

By Jake Beleski

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Masterton swimmer Deborah Hambly admits she was a late starter in her swimming career, but at 44 years old she still has medals in her sights.

Hambly, a beekeeping teacher, is in Auckland to compete at the World Masters Games, starting today and running through until the closing ceremony on April 30.

Anyone can compete in the games providing they are over the age of 35, although some sports will allow athletes younger than that.

Hambly will compete in the 45-49 age bracket due to the athletes being grouped based on their ages at the end of the year.

She hails from the Canadian province of Quebec, but has been living in New Zealand for 12 years.

She was previously a PE teacher who “always loved swimming”, but it wasn’t until she was 19 that she started swimming competitively.

“I was able to swim one hour a day on my college team, and I was the worst on the team . . . but I got the award for most improved because I just dedicated myself to it.”

She will be competing in the 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 400m freestyle, 200m individual medley and the 400m individual medley.

She was hopeful of picking up a medal in at least one event.

“I have some times in mind I want to achieve, and I’d like to be in the top three in one of them.”

Recently, she has been focussed on the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, in which she had already wrapped up the silver medal before the last race was held.

“The results are based on your best three results across the seven races, and I already had 297 points so couldn’t be overtaken for second.”

She said much of her success was due to the input of her coach, Richard Swallow.

Sponsorship from Stihl Shop Masterton had also helped her get to the event in Auckland.

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