You are currently viewing Stroke of genius surfaces from Thames club

Stroke of genius surfaces from Thames club

Diving into the culture at Thames Amateur Swimming Club led Helena Gasson to become a competitive swimmer and represent New Zealand.
The now 28-year-old has recently qualified for the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, and in previous years, she has competed in international events including the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2018 and 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Helena told The Profile the Thames club, where she was a member between 2008 to 2012 while attending Hauraki Plains College, made her decide she wanted to become an olympic swimmer.
“We had really good coaches who set us up really well, it definitely was what I needed at that time throughout my teenage years,” she said.

“We had pretty cool training camps, and because it’s a small club it was really close so it was kind of like a little family that we had training there.
“You kind of appreciate that when you move to the big cities, the Auckland clubs aren’t quite as close, so that was probably a highlight of being at Thames.”
Helena, who grew up in Miranda and now lives in Red Beach, Auckland, said becoming an Olympian and getting fifth at the world champs last year was “very special”, as well as competing in the International Swimming League in 2020 and 2021.
“It was my life goal [the Olympics], I didn’t really know how to explain it, but it was kind of relieving,” she said.
“The whole [Olympic Games] is next level and it was really exciting and all that stuff, but achieving what I wanted to achieve for such a long time.”
Helena said she was currently preparing for the Paris Olympics in 2024, and hoped to make it through to the semi finals in the World Aquatics Championships, which will be held from mid to late July.
She will be competing in the 50m fly and the 50m backstroke events.
“I’m in the water nine times a week for two hours and I have three gym sessions and a pilates session on top of that at AUT Millennium and Northern Arena [in Auckland],” she said.