Cook Islands Swimming Representatives
Wesley Roberts (the Atiu Rocket) an Australian based swimmer who hails originally from Atiu, won the Cook Islands first gold medal at an international event at the 2016 11th Oceania Swimming Championships in Suva, Fiji. Roberts has continued to excel internationally in his specialist events 200, 400 and 1500 metres freestyle - picking up silver,gold and bronze medals respectively at the 2018 Oceania Swimming Championships held in Papua New Guinea. Current record holder for 50, 100, 200, 400 and 1500 metres freestyle. 2016 Olympic Games (Rio), 2018 Commonwealth Games. Claimed 200 freestyle gold with the Cook Islands first ever medal in swimming at the 2019 Pacific Games, Samoa. Carried on with superb form winning the 1500m free silver and 100 free bronze. Currently training in Australia in preparation for Tokyo 2020.
Kirsten Fisher-Masters a New Zealand based Cook Island swimmer who first competed at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan reaching the women's 50m breast final. Fisher-Masters, a breast-stroke specialist holds the current Cook Islands records for both 50m and 100m breast-stroke for both long and short course. A FINA Tokyo 2020 scholarship recipient with a bright future ahead she also competed at the 2018 Oceania Games (Papua New Guinea) and the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast). A successful haul of medals at the 2019 Arafura Games with 2 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze and breaking the 200 breaststroke Games record. Currently preparing for Tokyo 2020.
Temuarata (Tem) Strickland a New Zealand based freestyle sprint specialist is currently training in New Zealand, preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Strickland has been a promising talent since his teens representing the Cook Islands at many international events culminating with his selection to represent the Cook Islands at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In 2016 Strickland was the recipient of FINA scholarship to the Thanyapura Swimming academy based in Thailand after which his performances saw him launch onto the international stage. Also a FINA Tokyo 2020 scholarship holder, Strickland is the holder of a number Cook islands records including the 50m butterfly and 200 backstroke.
Bede Aitu, an 18 year-old Cook Islands swimmer based in New Zealand, who has competed since first representing at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and then the 2018 Oceania Swimming Championships. Aitu is the current Cook Islands record holder in 50m, 100m backstroke and 100, 200 IM events and competed at both 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina and 2019 World Junior Champs in Budapest, Hungary. Currently training in Auckland with fellow Cook Islands team-mate Malcolm Richardson. Competed well at the 2019 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia collecting four gold medals, including breaking the Games 200m backstroke record.
Noah Vilisoni-Heather, a 18-year old Cook Islands swimmer from Auckland who is currently training overseas on a FINA scholarship at the Thanyapura Sports Institute, Phuket, Thailand. Vilisoni-Heather competed at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, breaking the Cook Islands 50m butterfly stroke record. Noah also competed well at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Vilisoni-Heather has been training for Thanyapura for 2 years with a number other international swimmers, competing at a number of international events. Currently focused on competing at the 2020 Oceania Swimming Championships in Suva, Fiji and 2020 Junior Pan Pacs in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Malcolm Richardson a 29-year old Cook Islands swimmer who has returned successfully to swimming after retiring in 2012, to focus on a medical career. A breaststroke specialist, Malcolm currently holds the 50m and 100m record and in 2018 won the New Zealand NZ Short Course Open 50m breast stroke event in 27.99 seconds. Competed at the 2018 World Championships in Huangzhou, China and currently focused on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Tiernan Keane an 20-year old Cook Islands swimmer based in Wellington. First represented Cook Islands at the 2018 Oceania Swimming Championships in butterfly and freestyle. Was a member of the Cook Islands first ever men's relay team to ever compete at an international level. Performed well at the 2018 Division II Swimming champs which brought him to the attention of CIAF. Competed well at the 2019 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia picking up a silver medal in the 50m butterfly.
Team Kukis - 2018 Oceania Swimming Championships, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Left to Right: Kirsten Fisher-Masters, Paul Aitu (Physio), Wesley Roberts, Bede Aitu, Tem Strickland, Tiernan Keane, Horst Miehe (Coach)
Former Cook Islands Swimming Reps
Petero James Moeava Okotai was one the first Cook Islands swimmers to compete on the international stage. Okotai competed in the 50m freestyle event at the 2007 Aquatics Championships in Melbourne and the men’s 100m breaststroke event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Okotai is a former Cook Islands record holder for the 50m freestyle and 100m breast-stroke events. Okotai faced challenging training conditions in the Cook Islands at the time, with no training venues available, resorting to training in the lagoon and later in a 17-metre pool at a local Rarotongan hotel. An inspiration to all competitive Cook Islands swimmers that have followed.
Zachary Tepaia Payne, a Cook Island based swimmer who trained for four months at the prestigious Bolles Academy in Florida, USA in his lead up to representing the Cook Islands at the 2012 Oceania Champs in Noumea and his selection to compete at the 2012 London Olympics. A former national record holder in the 50m and 100m metre freestyle events. Payne also competed at the 2011 FINA Short Course series in Singapore.
Celeste Brown an Australian based Cook Island swimmer competed in the women's 50m freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, finishing with a time of 29.36 seconds in 54th place in the heats. Brown as a teen was a regular representative on the swimming circuit for the Cook Islands.
Tracy Keith-Matchitt, a New Zealand based swimmer last competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s 100 metre freestyle. Keith-Matchitt currently holds the Cook Islands records for 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle 50m, 100m butterfly, 50m backstroke (Short Course) and the 50m, 100m free style (Long Course). A Cook Islands representative at 2016 Oceania Swimming Champs (Fiji), 2015 World Champs (Russia), and 2014 World Champs (Qatar).