Cook Islands Development Squad
The Cook Islands Aquatic Federation has a growing Development Squad with goals of becoming swim fit and aiming to compete overseas two times a year. The Squad is not limited to age but rather looks for those committed to the sport. Enthusiastic about swimming we aim to train year-round in our ocean lagoon pool and face many challenges that ocean swimming creates.
Our goal for the Development Squad is to instill a passion for swimming and provide a stepping stone to the next and more competitive level of swimming on the International stage.
International Excursions - New Zealand 2023
In April of 2023, the CIAF development squad consisting of 11 children aged 10-17, participated in a camp and development competition in Auckland, NZ. This group was led by Development coach Kieran Chan and Cook Islands head coach Horst Miehe. The goal of these development trips are to expose our island kids to the world of pool swimming and to gain experience, better preparing them for the level of competition in the sport.
Cook Islands Swim in Schools Program:
Our Swim in Schools Programme currently engages about 1000 children a week in Rarotonga teaching them the basics of swimming and water safety. Being surrounded by water on our beautiful islands does not automatically mean that the children of the Cook Islands know how to swim safely. Our programme ensures that children gain the confidence and knowledge of ocean swimming to be comfortable in the water.
Our unique approach to teaching is specialized just for our ever-changing environment. Once a year we invite the best of the best to compete in the Kau Competition between the primary schools. For safety purposes, the children must have participated in our programme in order to participate. Currently our competition is held just for those in Rarotonga but we aim to have all the outer islands send the best swimmers to compete for the top in all of the Cook Islands. Our goal as a Federation is to give every child in the Cook Islands the opportunity to learn how to swim as it is an imperative life skill.
Cook Islands Swim in Schools Program:
Cooks Islands Swimming Representatives
"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.
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.
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.
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.
"Tem", 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.
Noah Vilisoni - Heather
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.
CIAF provides schools in Rarotonga with the opportunity to learn how to swim. For two terms of the year we transport children to safe beaches and teach them the basics of swimming. Our program reaches up to 1000 Cook Island children a week! At the end of Term 1 we put on a Kau Competition where the best of the best go head to head in our makeshift lagoon pool. Our swim in Schools Programme has provided fitness and basic swimming skills to children focusing on inclusivity despite size, gender, age, or ability.
The Cook Islands is one of four Oceania countries that does not have a 25m or 50m swimming pool. It is our aim to establish a swimming pool on Rarotonga within the next 3-5years.
We have been developing the concept of a saltwater pool located in the foreshore area in the township of Avarua. The pool is designed to fit along the foreshore to reflect wave energy and harmonize with the natural contours of the coastline. Made of solid reinforced concrete and steel, maintenance will kept to a minimum so that day to day operation costs are very low. There will also be a 20x12m splash pool for children, people with disabilities and the elderly.