The US based swimmer Ali Galyer has committed to representing New Zealand and has been selected for the upcoming Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo.
The 20 year old, a backstroke specialist, is a junior at the University of Kentucky and set a personal best time of 2:09.77s in the heats of the 200m backstroke at last week's USA National Championships. She went on to finish 8th in the final.
Galyer's personal best time ranks her 17th in the world, based on two athletes per nation.
Following the USA National Championships Galyer announced her decision to represent New Zealand.
"I've spent a majority of my time in the U.S. but New Zealand has always been part of my life… I've always admired the Kiwi sporting spirit and the way the competitors took so much pride in wearing the fern."
Galyer added, "My introduction to New Zealand was watching the All Blacks with my Dad and for my family to see me put on the black uniform and represent New Zealand is something I've thought about for a long time, it's very exciting."
Swimming New Zealand Targeted Athlete and Coach Manager Gary Francis is thrilled at having Galyer commit to swimming for New Zealand and also adding another athlete to the Pan Pacs team.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for Swimming New Zealand and Ali. It's not every day you find a world class athlete from the world's premier swimming environment to add to your team. Ali has massive potential to improve even more and we are very excited that she's committed to New Zealand."
"The entire Pan Pacs team are very excited to meet their new team mate and welcome her into the Swimming New Zealand family," says Francis.
Francis added, "we look forward to working alongside Ali, her coach and her family to ensure she has support from Swimming New Zealand."
Although Galyer did not compete at the 2018 NZ Open Championships, the Swimming New Zealand selection panel approved a dispensation request for Galyer to be added to the Pan Pacific Championships team.
"I'm focused on doing my best for New Zealand at Pan Pacs next week. I also hope to earn the right to represent New Zealand again over the next few years with my long-term goal of swimming for New Zealand at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games."
Born in Brisbane, Galyer was raised in Greenville, South Carolina and has New Zealand heritage through her father Roy who was born in Matamata and grew up in Te Puke and Tauranga. Galyer's mother was born in Canada and is an Australian Citizen.
"My Dad comes from a family of seven, I am particularly close to my Nana, my Aunts and Uncles so our family get togethers have always had a huge Kiwi component," says Galyer.
Galyer will join the rest of the New Zealand swimming team in Kobe, Japan this week for a staging camp ahead of the start of the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo on Thursday 9th August 2018.