Meet New Zealand's Fastest Man In Water
By Radix Team 29/05/2017 10:01 am
Current 4x New Zealand Freestyle Record-Holder

You may not have heard of Dan Hunter yet, but the 22-year-old Aucklander is a relatively young swimmer with big wins already under his belt. New Zealand’s fastest man in the water is dominating within his own country and his sights are now firmly set on the world stage. He holds New Zealand Long Course records of 22.31 seconds in the 50-metre freestyle and 49.43 seconds in 100-metre freestyle. He also owns the Short Course record for 50-metres freestyle in 21.52 seconds and 100-metres freestyle in 47.03 seconds.

Currently studying Business at Massey University, in Auckland, Hunter balances studies with a tough training regime. Every training day and each competition all equate to experience – something he needs in buckets if he wants to dominate international competition one day. Hunter caught the Radix team’s eye last year and as luck would have it, he wanted to use Radix products to improve his performance

Sam Clark wins the C2C

Aged 16, he qualified for his first National age group championship and won his first gold medal in the 50-metre freestyle. That was the turning point when he got serious about swimming. Later he joined Howick-Pakuranga Swimming club and has remained there for over four years.

“I met my coach, Jana Wilkitzki, not long after joining. I respect and admire her, we have a good relationship and she knows how to get the best out of me. It’s no surprise she was recently named New Zealand Coach of the year.”

Last year, he blasted onto the swimming scene at the World Cup in Hong Kong and won a silver medal in the 100-metre freestyle.

“Events like that, with prize money and the world media standing by, make all the training worth it.”

Hunter qualified for the International World University Games whilst studying Physiotherapy at AUT University and at the end of 2016, went to Canada where he qualified for the World Short Course Swimming Championships, in the 50, 100 and 200 metre freestyle events.

“I even made a semi-final in the 50-metre free in Canada - that was enough to make me hungry for more. It was inspiring and I was stoked to be there.”

In early 2017, Hunter attended World Championship trials, where he qualified for the 50-metre freestyle and 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay. He will soon head to Budapest in July 2017 for the World Championships - the biggest competition of his life to date.

“To make top 16 would be fantastic. I’m striving to get a PB and make a semi-final too. To do all three would be incredible and if I get in the best shape of my life, I could do it. This means being on top of my nutrition, training and mental wellbeing.”

The 4 x 100-metre relay team consists of four of New Zealand’s best swimmers. He and his relay teammates, (Corey Main, Matt Stanley and Sam Perry) have been attracting attention – having all recently swum under 50 seconds in the 100-metre freestyle.

“It’s within our sights to make the Commonwealth Games next year – we all want to be there.”

Hunter began swimming aged 11, but garnered a love for the water much earlier.

“When my sisters and I were young, mum insisted we should learn to swim better than her. She was a strong swimmer and understood the benefits, especially living on an island surrounded by water. She taught me to embrace the water and want to master it.”

Hunter has always known he was a freestyle swimmer.

“As a kid, I wanted to be as quick as possible and took to the stroke immediately. It is fast and exhilarating, especially over sprint distances - I love pushing my body hard to see what I can achieve.”

A typical day starts at 5am and he swims from 6am until 8am. Late morning, there’s a 90-minute gym workout and usually another two-hour swim in the afternoon.

“You have to be dedicated, the schedule is demanding and fitting in study makes it harder. But I find the busier I am, the more productive I become in all aspects of my life. I’m thriving under pressure.”

Like most athletes, Hunter has had his fair share of set-backs. In 2016, he missed qualifying for the Olympics by 0.04 seconds.

“Losing out was tough and I had to dig deep mentally to pick myself up. Obviously now I am even hungrier to qualify next time.”

Even his academic career has been impacted by swimming.

“I began studying Physiotherapy, but after two years, was forced to stop when it became too demanding alongside swimming. I have no time right now to do the compulsory placement year in the field. So, I reluctantly left the course and hope to one day complete it.”

Finding new ways to gain a competitive edge is a continual mission.

“One way I make performance gains is by eating exceptional quality, healthy food. Radix meals are useful when I need to re-fuel quickly. Ready in minutes, I like to use Radix before and after training - they’re easily digestible and don’t sit heavy. It’s amazing something so tasty contains premium nutrition. I need a specific balance of protein and carbohydrates and these exactly fit my requirements. The breakfasts are my favourite – any time of the day!”

“Certainly, I have a few more years of working on myself physically to get in peak condition. Then I’ll hopefully come into my own as an athlete, with greater power, stamina and more experience.”

Right now, Hunter is focused on the build-up to his first ever World Long Course Championship in Budapest this year.

“Next year, I want to participate in the Commonwealth Games, in 2020 I would like to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games and hopefully make an impression at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Beyond that, who knows. I have a lot to do first.”

Follow his progress on:

Instagram: daniel_hunter11

Facebook: Daniel Hunter Athlete