Young Swimmers take trophies at Winter Meet

Young Swimmers take trophies at Winter Meet

Records tumbled over the weekend as 100 swimmers from the top of the South contested the Swimming Nelson Marlborough Winters Champs held at the ASB Aquatic Centre.

In an outstanding display of swimming, 10 year old Sarah-Kate Birkett from Nelson Club took out the award for Overall Best Female Swimmer, as well as the gold medal in the girls 10 years and under age group with an impressive 9 wins and 1 second place, including two Nelson-Marlborough regional records for 50m fly and 100m fly.  Second place in this age group went to Ruby-Lou Stuart of Waimea and third place to Tara Hagan of Nelson Club.

In the boys 10 years and under, Bendi Kepess from Nelson Club was a clear winner with 8 year old Nick Lovell of Waimea Club and Oliver Handforth from Nelson South taking out the places.

The girls 11-12 years age group was a closely fought battle with the leaders changing several times over the weekend, but at the conclusion of the meet, Gabby Lovell of Waimea Club took out the honours winning the gold medal, with Cassandra Hagan of Nelson Club taking the silver and Jaslyn Humphries from Nelson South taking home the bronze.

The winner of the boys 11-12 years age group was Oliver Stark from Waimea Swim Club.  With 7 wins and 1 second place, Oliver also deservedly won the title of Overall Best Male Swimmer – a fantastic effort from another up and coming young swimmer.  Daniel Trevurza from Motueka Club and Benjamin Munro from Nelson Club took out the silver and bronze age group medals.

Oliver Stark of Waimea won Best Overall Male SwimmerThe largest age group, with 20 swimmers, was the girls 13-14 years age group.  The gold medallist was Pip Dwyer from Nelson South who swam solidly over the weekend with 6 first places including a meet record for the 100m freestyle event.  Clara Foster, also of Nelson South, came second and Talya Harwood from Nelson Club third.  Talya broke a Nelson Marlborough record for 14 year girls for the 800m free.

Sam McKenzie continues his winning ways taking out the first place in the boys 13-14 years age group, winning all seven events he entered, and setting new meet records and Nelson Marlborough records in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle and the 50m butterfly.  Liam Clark of Blenheim placed second in this age group and Matai McGuinniety of Nelson South took third place.

In the girls 15 years and over age group, Ellie Rukuwai from Nelson South was able to hold off Blenheim swimmers Sally McMath and Sara Gane to take the gold medal. Ellie broke two Nelson Marlborough records in the process, for 100m freestyle and 100m IM.  Sara Gane had a clean sweep of records for breaststroke, setting new Nelson Marlborough records for girls 15 years in 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke as well as the Open Record for 200m breaststroke which has stood since 1994.

Eddie Neill was the winner of the boys 15 years and over age group and was another record breaking swimmer.  Eddie broke the Open Record for the 400m IM, which also dates to 1994, along with the boys 15 years record for 200m IM and 400m IM.  Toby Lloyd from Blenheim was second overall and Luke Kelly of Nelson South completed the medal winners in this age group.

The relay events were fiercely contested and concluded the sessions.  Nelson Club’s 12 years and under medley relay team denied Nelson South a clean sweep with Nelson South taking out the 13-14 years medley, 15 years and over medley as well as the 12 x 50m freestyle relay.

Sara Gane (15) of Blenheim won the prize for breaking a meet record by the biggest margin, just pipping Sam McKenzie (14) of Nelson Swimming. Sara's time in the 200m breaststroke of 2:36.89 beat the old record by 5.99%, while Sam's time of 2:00.96 in the 200m freestyle bettered the old record by 5.96%.

Competitors and spectators alike enjoyed a great weekend of swimming. 

“It was a great weekend of swimming,” said Stephen Fryer, President of Swimming Nelson Marlborough, “and it was great to see medalists from all five of the clubs that entered. That really shows the strength of our coaching and clubs right across the region, and bodes well for the coming competition season.”

The next major event on the swimming calendar is the South Island Championships, starting on Friday 30 August.  The event is being hosted by Swimming Nelson Marlborough at Stadium 2000 in Blenheim. It is attracting the top swimmers from the entire South Island, and promises to be an action packed event. The swimmers will be vying for selection to the South Island team for New Zealand’s inter-zone swimming meet, to be held in Wellington at the end of September.

Posted: Mon 12 Aug 2013