Youth Olympics: Galloway swimming pedigree passed down through generations

Seventy years ago, Ngaire Galloway spent six weeks travelling and training on a boat bound for the 1948 London Olympics.

Now, New Zealand's oldest-living Olympian is passing on her wisdom to the next generation - her own grand-daughter Gina Galloway.

They caught up face to face in Nelson, before Gina leaves for her first Olympic event - the Youth Olympic Games - in Buenos Aires next week.

Ngaire was the only female in the seven-strong New Zealand team in 1948. She competed in 100m backstroke and placed seventh in her semi-final. Gina will also line up for 100m backstroke.

"[Swimming's] all changed a bit hasn't it," Ngaire admitted. "The stroke itself has changed a lot.

"Gina's lucky, she's got killer instinct and she’s great competitor."

And Gina believes she's a great competitor because she's been inspired by 'Nana Ngaire' and her 93 years of wisdom.

Ngaire & Gina Galloway
Ngaire & Gina Galloway. Photo credit: Photosport.

"Nana has been very inspiring," Gina said. "I remember from a young age listening to all her stories… the shared bond we have over swimming and the sport has been very very inspiring."

Reflecting on her time at the Olympic Games, Ngaire remembers how her training wasted away, while they travelled on the boat.

"The ship's carpenter made me a pool," Galloway said. "It was about six feet long by about 2-3 feet wide and I would just lie in it, but of course you couldn't stroke... maybe just kick."

While Ngaire admits the Olympics were a proud moment for her, winning the British Championships stands out most in her memory.

"Oh, that was a very special one, that one," she said, admiring her certificate.

And now it’s Gina’s turn in Buenos Aires.

"Oh, I was absolutely thrilled [when I heard], I really was," Ngaire said. "It’s just nice, it's a sort of continuity there, isn't there."

But she admits, if Gina was to medal, she may be too shocked - and promptly warned Gina: "I'd probably collapse with excitement, I should think, so you better be careful."

It would be a proud moment for both Gina and Ngaire, and she promises she'll be watching every stroke on her iPad.