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Smashing time for swimmers

Three gold medals, five silver and two bronze, 108 personal best times, national qualifying times and a selection for the New Zealand zonal championships were the rewards for Masterton Swimming Club at the Wellington long course championships last weekend.

The 21-strong team aged 9 to 18yrs, competed with the more than 600 of the region’s best and 40 clubs from around New Zealand at the four-day meet held over Wellington anniversary weekend.

Masterton Swimming Club head coach Anna Kitching said the team produced outstanding personal best times at every level in a solid weekend of racing in the build-up to national meets in February and March.

The final session of the meet saw Kate Sims (15) win gold in the 400m freestyle in a personal best, and a second gold shortly after in the 100m butterfly.

The same night she also picked up the bronze in the 100m freestyle in another personal best and earlier in the meet claimed silver in the 200m butterfly.

Sims was named in the All Stars Zonal team to compete at the New Zealand zonal championships in Auckland on February 11.

A gold medal-winning swim by Louis Oliver in 100m butterfly, the final event of the meet, saw the team finish on a high as the 11-year-old dug deep after a busy schedule to touch just ahead of a Capital rival.

Oliver took the silver medal in the 200m individual medley and swam 10 personal bests.

Swimming at his first regional meet, the team’s youngest member, Harry Oliver, 9, showed huge promise, winning silver medals in the 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle.

Oliver Donaldson, 15, picked up the bronze in the 50m butterfly in a personal best time.

Multiple personal bests by consistently large margins were achieved by Cody McGlashan, Sam Dale, Charlie O’Connell, Hayley Bresaz, Charlotte Murray and Isobel Bresaz.

Thirteen-year-olds Lilly Hamill-Harris, Sam Dale and Jayden Watt and Cody McGlashan, 14, achieved qualifying times for the New Zealand division two competition in March.

Anna Kitching said a standout feature of the Masterton swimmers was their ability to produce ‘back-end speed’, finishing strongly in the final stages of races.

“The hard work by swimmers at training and on our summer camp paid off despite the long weekend and busy schedules with morning heats and evening finals.”

The club now looks toward the New Zealand age group championships and division two meet in March, and next month’s NZ zonal champs and Junior Festival.

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