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Life Membership Award

Mark Saunders accepting his Life Membership award

Northern Arena Director, Mark Saunders, has been honoured with a Swimming New Zealand Life Membership for his services to the sport and the community. This is the highest award in the industry with only 10 people currently holding the honour.

Mark’s service to swimming spans more than 45 years. He has represented New Zealand as a swimmer being a national title holder for 200m butterfly and later set two world records in masters swimming for 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley.

As a child he swam for Te Puke and later returned to coach at club level and undertake administration duties for Bay of Plenty Swimming. He spent 9 years working for Swimming New Zealand in swim teacher education and served on the Board of Swimming Education.

Marks career as team manager of national teams spans 21 years and includes the Beijing and Rio Olympics, 2 Commonwealth Games and numerous world champs, university, Oceana and Pan Pacific games. More recently he served as Chairman of Auckland Swimming and 6 years as national selector. At present he devotes his time to fund raising for New Zealand’s national swimmers as Executive member of the Swimming New Zealand Trust. In 2017 he was invited to join the International Swim Schools Association Board of Advisors.

Mark continues to have an active role at Northern Arena where his specialty involves introducing very young reluctant children to the water and the sport of swimming.