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Masterton swimmers excel

Hannah van Wijk who holds two national records. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Swimmers based in Masterton but competing under the umbrella of the Dannevirke club made a huge impact at the Wellington summer championships which attracted 400 plus competitors from all over the country.

Hannah van Wijk, competing as an S14 para swimmer in the 18 years and over age group far exceeded her own expectations by setting two national para records in Sunday’s competition.

She broke her own 200m backstroke record in the heats, a time she had posted at this event last year, by a remarkable 8.09 seconds, improving from three minutes, 38.94 seconds last year.

In the evening, van Wijk set another national record in the 400 metres freestyle.

This event is not traditionally swum by S14 athletes so van Wijk’s time of 6:35.62, a personal best by 5.05sec, is now the mark to beat.

Van Wijk added a bronze medal in each of the 50m backstroke and 100m backstroke to her tournament haul.

Another swimmer who exceeded expectations was Siena Cockburn, also based in Masterton where the Dannevirke club now has a full training squad under the watchful eyes of coach Vanessa Dale.

Cockburn went into the championships after an absence from competitive swimming of almost a year and won the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle events. She took a silver in the 100m backstroke.

She also qualified for the NZ Open championships in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke and for the NZ age group championships in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke and the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke events. Overall, a very impressive start to her competitive campaign for 2018.

Samuel Dale, 14, also based in Masterton had a very successful weekend too, winning silver in the 200m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m breaststroke.

Apart from the medal winners, swimmers from the Dannevirke club making the top 10 in other events were:

Siena Cockburn [13], eighth in 200m freestyle; Samuel Dale [14], fourth in 50m breaststroke; Marcus Blok [13], eighth in 200m butterfly; Cameron Gillespie [18], sixth in both 50m and 100m breaststroke, seventh in 200m individual medley, eighth in 200m backstroke, sixth in 100m backstroke, 10th in 50m freestyle.

A reserve for the 50m butterfly final after qualifying in 11th place was 14-year-old Jayden Watt.

Dannevirke head coach Lin Tozer was delighted with the success of the club’s 10-strong team at what was one of the largest meets outside the national events programme to be held in New Zealand.

“All swimmers went with their own goals and aspirations and every one of them surpassed those goals during the meet,” Tozer said.

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