Swimmers shine at South Island Champs

Thirty swimming clubs from around the South Island converged on Dunedin at the end of September to compete in the newly formatted South Island Championship. Tasman, Nelson South and Blenheim Swimming Clubs fielded a total of 22 swimmers.

The meet format was changed this year to prepare swimmers for higher level competition and to better reflect national and international formats. In the morning prelims, swimmers had to swim fast to qualify for the evening final, then swim faster in the final to medal in their event.

Caitlin Delany of Tasman Swim Club was top of her class in the female breaststroke. The 17 year old won 4 gold medals and set a meet record in the 100m breaststroke of 1:11.49. Delany, who attends Waimea College, also set a new Nelson Marlborough record in the 400m individual medley and was the top open swimmer in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke.

Tasman’s Talya Harwood (16) won the open gold in the 800m freestyle, beating all other women at that distance.

Times tumbled in the prelims as swimmers vied for finalist positions.

Ruby-Lou Stuart (13) of Nelson South showed real determination in all her events. Her peak effort came in the physically challenging 200m butterfly, where she took off 2.45sec her personal best in the morning prelim and a further 10.49sec in the evening final, winning a gold medal in the 12-14 year age group. In the equally demanding 400m medley, the Waimea Intermediate student repeated a coach’s dream, dropping 1.73sec in the prelim and another 8.29sec in the final. Then in the 800m freestyle, Ruby-Lou managed another impressive 13.60 sec personal best. Nelson South’s Libby Neill (Nelson College for Girls) was also strong throughout the meet, including a huge 9.80 secs off her time in the 100m butterfly.

The 800m freestyle brought out the best from the Tasman club swimmers. Sierra Thomas dropped 30.88 sec, Leah Friend 30.14 sec, Piper Riley 26.22sec and Emma Fox 13.69 sec. Leah Friend also made a final in the 400m medley by dropping 10.54 sec in the morning prelims, then chopped a further 4.20 sec in the final. Bendi Kepess and Max Stackhouse from Tasman made improvements of 22.56sec and 7.8sec respectively in their 400m medley races.

Swimmers from Tasman Swim Club made 24 evening finals, led by Caitlin Delany, in the 17yrs and over, placing 1st in the 50m, 100, and 200m breaststroke and 800m freestyle. In the 15-16 yrs age group, Talya Harwood was first in the 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and 200m backstroke, while James Fluery was 1st in the 100m backstroke final. In the 12-14yrs age group, Cassie Hagan made six evening finals and was 2nd in the 200m breaststroke and 800m freestyle and 3rd in the 100m breaststroke.

Nelson South swimmers made 10 finals with RubyLou Stuart, in the 12-14yrs age group, achieving a gold in the 200m butterfly.

Blenheim swimmer Kazuki Jahana (Marlborough Boys) dropped an impressive 10.97 sec in the 200m butterfly, 9.21sec in the 400m medley and 5.97 sec in his 200m freestyle.  Teammate Tallara Daldorf (Marlborough Girls) was consistent with 4.68 sec off her 200m breaststroke, 4.31 sec in the 100m breaststroke and 4.36 sec in the 200m freestyle.

Blenheim swimmers made 22 finals, led by Sally McMath in the 17yrs and over age group. McMath made open finals in seven events and picked up two silver and four bronze medals.

Nelson Marlborough’s women’s relay team, Libby Neill (Nelson South), Sophie Woodhouse (Blenheim), Tallara Daldorf (Blenheim) and Sally McMath (Blenheim) placed third in the 400m medley and 400m freestyle in the 16 years and over category.

Posted: Tue 06 Oct 2015