Ngāti Hine swimmer primed for gold at short course Champs

By Eru Paranihi
  • Auckland

New Zealand swimming representative Callum Prime heads into the National Short Course Champs in Auckland full of confidence, after a successful swim at the Australian State Champs. 

Prime also captained the New Zealand team at the recently completed Commonwealth Youth Games. 

The 18-year old was back in the familiar colours of his North Shore swimming club after leading New Zealand in the Bahamas. 

“The competition there was amazing. Seeing racing on an international scale, and not just between New Zealand and Australia, I thought that was a huge thing,” says Prime.  

Last week, the bubbly natured teenager picked up a Gold and two Silver medals in Australia. North Shore swimming club coach Andy McMillan describes him as a fierce competitor in the water. But away from racing, he's a role model to his teammates. 

McMillan says, “He's got a really nice nature, his demeanour is pretty relaxed, and that rubs off on everyone and makes everyone feel welcome, and at ease I guess.” 

There is a handful of Māori that are competing, just like Prime. But, according to the Ngāti Hine swimmer, that number could perhaps be more. 

Prime says, “Often there can be stereotypes maybe about Māori competing which I don't like to see. So, if I can see more Māori in the pool that'll be awesome."

On day one, Prime picked up a gold medal for his North Shore club in the 400m Individual Medley, with a time of 4:19.87. He insists, however, his biggest competitor is himself. 

“Seeing everyone compete together, being a national event t's a really massive time for me. Also, being able to PB. It is racing against yourself as well, and not competitors. As long as I can beat myself I'll be happy."

At only 18-years-old, Prime has time on his side, especially with the aim of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.