Elia Dale, left, Henry Sewell, Sam Dale and Siena Cockburn with the Fijian flag. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED
The Wairarapa connection helped Dannevirke Swim Club make a big splash at the Fiji national age group swimming championships in Suva last week.
Competing under the Dannevirke banner were Awatea Carswell, Siena Cockburn, Elia Dale, Sam Dale, Freya Lewington, Ian McRae, Henry Sewell and Libby Wing, while Vanessa Dale was part of the coaching team.
They travelled to Fiji on April 29 to take part in joint training sessions with the Suva-based Dolphins club before the competition.
Vanessa Dale said it was an “amazing experience” to not only train but also compete against swimmers from around the Pacific.
To say the Wairarapa swimmers were successful at the championships would be a major understatement as personal best times and podium finishes quickly became the norm rather than the exception.
Cockburn returned home with eight individual medals in the girls’ 14 years division – four golds, three silvers and a bronze.
Her golds came in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m backstroke, silvers in the 50m backstroke, 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle and a bronze in the 200m freestyle.
Sam Dale shone in the boys’ 15 years division – gold in the 800m freestyle and silvers in the 1500m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke.
Cockburn and Sam Dale, together with their Palmerston North-based teammates, also won gold medals in five relay events in the 13 years to 16 years age groups.
McRae regularly made the podium in the boys’ 11 years division, taking away a silver in the 100m butterfly and bronze medals in the 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
Together with Sewell, he also won two silvers and two bronzes in the 13 years to 16 years relays, with Sewell also securing a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle event.
Three of the Wairarapa swimmers – Carswell, Elia Dale and Libby Wing – were in the girls’ 11 years age group and they recorded personal best times by significant margins as well as being part of four gold medal- winning freestyle and medley relay teams.
Lewington competed in the girls’ 13 years division and registered several personal best times and was part of relay teams in the 13 to 16 years age group which won a silver and three bronze medals.