22 West Coast Athletes competed in the 2023 SA Country Swimming Championships held at the Wulanda Sport and Recreation Centre, Mount Gambier from the 5th to the 8th of January. Swimmers performed exceptionally well, with several individuals named SA Age Group Country Champion in their individual events.
The event commenced with the ‘Superfish’ competition allowing athletes who have not yet met the age or time constraints of the championship to perform. Simmy Larwood (10) was impressive, winning all four 50m events in her age group. Her standout performance was in the 50m butterfly, dropping 2.25 seconds for a time of 41.04 seconds. Dustin Siviour (10) also took out the clean sweep, finishing first in each of his age group 50m sprints. He created a new personal best in the 50m backstroke (46.81) and was the standout athlete in the 50m breastroke (45.37). Nikolas Bolenski (9) finished first in two events being the 50m butterfly (47.20) and 50m breastroke (52.26). In the 9 year age category, Ebony Wright also finished first female in all 4 events. She swam the 50m butterfly in 50.59, the 50m breastroke in 55.43, 50m backstroke in 48.74 and the 50m freestyle in 41.95. Evie Kannussaar (9) had an excellent 50m butterfly swim to finish second female with a 6.25 second improvement (52.16) and was second South Australian in the 50m backstroke (50.94). She also was 2nd in the 9 year 50m freestyle (44.92) and the 50m breastroke (55.43). What a great next generation of West Coast swimmers coming through the ranks.
Tyrell Nemeth Ford (11) received the perpetual ‘Bryant Trophy’ for the highest overall point score for 11 year old boys. Tyrell was age group champion in 5 individual events, including the 100m freestyle (1.07.82), 100m backstroke (1.21.82), 50m butterfly (35.26), 100m butterfly (1.24.59) and the 100m breastroke (1.36.05). He received either gold, silver or bronze placings in each of the 10 individual events he entered and was part of the 14 and under 4 x 50m relay team who medalled in both the freestyle and medley event.
Club Captain Cohbin Oestmann (14) recorded excellent personal best efforts throughout the weekend’s racing. He was SA Country Champion in the 14 years 50m butterfly (30.75) and 50m freestyle (27.77). Cohbin secured silver in the 13/14 years 200m freestyle (2.17.98), the 200m individual medley (2.37.72) as well as the 14 years 50m backstroke (33.46) and 50m breastroke (38.02). He dropped a massive 16.48 seconds in the 400m individual medley to secure bronze (5.29.25). Cohbin is edging enviably close to the 60 second mark in the 100m freestyle. He finished in bronze medal position in the 14/15 years age group with a 1.01.75, dropping 2.26 seconds from his previous best. Cohbin also added bronze in the 400m freestyle (5.01.95) and 100m backstroke (1.10.90).
Toby Harris (12) maintained his momentum and experienced his most successful day on the 4th and final day of racing. Toby was named SA Country Champion in 2 events being the 12 years 50m breastroke (40.49) and the 12 and under 200m individual medley (2.47.98). Toby also finished in bronze medal contention in the 50m freestyle (31.29), 100m breastroke (1.30.98) and 50m backstroke (37.48).
Braden Holley (14) has come ahead in leaps in recent months continuing his streak of personal improvements. The highlight at these Country Championships was his break through the 30 second barrier in his 50m freestyle where he recorded a 29.85 in the 14 year old final. Both his 200m freestyle (2.29.16) and 400m freestyle (5.26.72) were also significant personal best performances. Braden has always been a strong backstroke swimmer and he was a finalist in the 14 years 50m event, finishing 7th in a 35.86. He also removed 8.78 seconds from his 200m backstroke (2.53.03) to finish 21st in the open event. Braden was a key performer in the 14 and under men’s 4 x 50m relay teams who took out bronze in both the freestyle and medley events.
Our female Club Captain Adler Larwood (14) progressed though to 3 individual age group finals including the 50m backstroke (36.75 – 6th), 50m breastroke (41.94 – 6th) and 50m freestyle (30.78 – 6th). She recorded strong personal best efforts in her 200m individual medley dropping 5.25 seconds for 5th in her respective age group (2.48.06). Adler was also an excellent contributor to the 14 and under relay team who secured bronze in the 4 x 50m freestyle relay and silver in the medley event.
Alice Bolenski (12) is proving to be a swimming powerhouse, creating a swag of new personal best performances at this event. Alice was thrilled to make age group finals in the 12 years 50m breastroke finishing 8th (42.41). She also recorded excellent improvements in her 100m breastroke removing 5.19 seconds (1.36.39) to narrowly miss finals racing, her 200m individual medley where she dropped over 17 seconds (3.10.49) and her 100m freestyle dropping 5.47 seconds (1.13.60). Alice has now achieved bronze status on the Swimming Australia Junior Excellence rankings and has qualified to swim 6 events at the SA Age Championships this coming March.
Mum and coach Nicol Wright took home a bundle of medals for her efforts in the 18 and over and open age categories. Nicol was the silver placed athlete in 3 events including both the open and 18 and over 50m backstroke (34.01) and 100m backstroke (1.16.40). Nicol also secured bronze medals in the 18 and over 100m freestyle (1.08.66) and 50m freestyle (30.13).
In a super tough age group Romey Larwood (12) pulled some cracker performances. Her 200m individual medley was her standout race placing 3rd in the 12 and unders with a 2.66 second personal best (2.53.35). Romey wiped off 11.3 seconds from her 100m butterfly to place 7th in the 12 / 13 age group (1.23.76) and snagged bronze in the 12 and under 200m freestyle (2.36.28). Romey was a frequent flyer in age group finals, making the cut in 5 individual events. She holds a Silver Junior Excellence ranking for the season and has qualified to swim a massive 12 individual events at the upcoming State Age Championships.
Teah Giles (15) has continued to demonstrate strong personal improvements in her racing. She commenced her individual program with a 7.38 second personal best in the 200 freestyle (2.42.19) and followed this up with personal bests in both the heats and finals of the 15 year old 50m breastroke to finish 5th (41.60). Teah progressed through to finals in the 100m breastroke, finishing 7th overall (1.30.03) and demonstrated her strength in this stroke with a 3.39 seconds personal best in the open 200m event to finish 12th (3.15.46).
Jade and Sharni Blacker (16) worked hard throughout the year to qualify for a swag of additional events at this year’s championships. Their dedication to maintaining training over the holiday period, whilst also being key members of the Cummins Vacswim teaching team was commendable. Sharni achieved personal bests in two of her individual events being the 200m individual medley (3.17.35) and the 100m freestyle (1.13.90), whilst Jade dropped time in her 100m freestyle to record a 1.17.52. The girls team spirit and support of their teammates was also highly valued.
Lucy and Tori Siviour (14) have certainly put in the pool miles over this summer season and had some great personal improvements over the duration of the meet. Lucy was a country finalist in the 14 years 50m breastroke smashing her personal best by 2.20 seconds to finish 7th (42.97). She also had an exceptional 100m breastroke event to drop 4.29 seconds (1.34.59). Tori also dropped time in both the 50m breastroke (44.73) and 100m race (1.38.92) and swam under her previous bests in the 50m freestyle (33.17), 100m freestyle (1.13.61) and wiped off 5.54 seconds from her 400m freestyle to drop under 6 minutes (5.55.06). Both girls were part of age group medal winning relay teams.
Indigo Hood (11) continues her run of steady improvements and has now secured two state qualification standards (50m breastroke and 100m backstroke). Indigo was an 11 year old finalist in both the 50m backstroke (8th 45.32) and 100m event finishing 7th (1.34.73), as well as the 50m breastroke (7th 50.83) and 100m breastroke where she finished 8th (1.55.36). She also posted an excellent improvement in her 100m freestyle dropping 2.46 seconds (1.24.41).
Bradley Wright (11) had a full program of racing and made frequent appearances in the 11 year age group finals. Bradley swam 6 individual finals medalling in bronze place for the 100m butterfly (2.02.24). He also finished 5th in the 50m butterfly (46.20), 6th in both the 100m freestyle (1.21.25) and 100m backstroke (1.36.76), 7th in the 50m backstroke (45.79) and 8th in the 50m breastroke (53.89). Bradley, together with Nik Bolenski, Harri Ware and Dustin Siviour comprised West Coast’s 12 and under men’s 4 x 50m freestyle and medley relay team. They secured the silver medal in both of these events.
Swimming in the same age group, Harri Ware (11) had an excellent first experience of championship format racing. Harri recorded some huge personal best efforts at the meet and was also a top 8 finalist in each of the 4 individual races that he entered. Harri finished 7th in the 100m freestyle (1.23.14) as well as 8th in the 50m backstroke (46.35), 100m backstroke (1.40.07) and 50m freestyle (37.96). In both of his 100m events he removed around 5 seconds from his previous bests. Harri has also achieved a Blue Junior Excellence ranking with Swimming Australia and has now reached the state qualification standard in three individual events.
Laila Kannussaar (11) was also one of our star 11 year old performers taking a spot in the finals in the 11 year girls 100m backstroke. Laila finished 6th overall with a 10.27 second personal best (1.34.41). Laila also recorded personal best performances in her 200m freestyle dropping 9.31 seconds (3.05.00), 50m backstroke (45.57) and 100m freestyle where she removed 4.94 seconds (1.24.51). Laila is yet another one of our swimmers who has now achieved the Blue Junior Excellence standard set by Swimming Australia.
Swimmers will recommence their full training load on Monday 30th of January in preparation for the State Age Long Course Championships in early March. A number of the team have also registered to participate in the Starlight Super Swim which sees them set a personal distance goal and fundraising target, raising money for the Starlight Foundation who support young people facing the challenge of childhood illness.
Sonia Ford is our publicity officer and would love to hear of noteworthy news items from our swimming community!