Swimmers from 11 Eyre Peninsula Secondary Schools (both government and private sector) combined to form the Far West swim team to contest the SASSSA (South Australian Secondary Schools Sports Association) A Grade swimming meet held at the SA Aquatic Centre on Wednesday March 9th. The team performed exceptionally well to finish in overall 4th position. Secondary schools are graded into A through to F grade, with 10 schools represented in each grade. Grading decisions are made based upon the level of competitiveness that is available within each school or region. The Far West SASSSA swim team was racing against teams submitted by Rostrevor College, St Peter Boys and Girls, Immanuel College, Trinity College, Prince Alfred College, St Aloysius, Pembroke, Sacred Heart, Mercedes, Wilderness and Seymour College.
2016 SASSSA Team: Front row (left to right) Jamie Ford, Brooke Traeger, Kellie Dennis, Kieran Stephens, Harrison Adams. Rear (left to right) Matthew Hancock, Hannah Murray, Alana Hancock, Jamie Matsen, Sarah Stirling, Taylah Stirling, Dana Hurrell, India Copland, Christopher Bawden, Jarrod Stolz, Patrick Newman, Gaeton Gerber, Ned Fuss, Brooklyn George, Callum Hancock, Sam Custance, Alleigh Hamnett, Cameron Akehurst, Maddie McShane, Thomas Klingberg and William Newberry.
St Josephs school had 8 representatives on the team. In her final year as a SASSSA representative, Brooke Traeger (Year 12) recorded some excellent results across both the individual open competition and open teams racing. She finished in 4th position in both the 50m butterfly (open) Division 1 (30.86) and 50m freestyle (open) Division 1 (29.44). She swam an excellent 100m freestyle in a long course personal best time of 1.03.19. and represented the Far West in both the Open Medley and Open Freestyle women’s teams racing.
Kellie Dennis joined the team for her second consecutive year, this time racing in the U15 age division. Kellie competed in both freestyle and backstroke individual events recording a new long course personal best in the 50m U15 Division 2 backstroke (39.98) as well some very competitive times in two individual 50m freestyle races. She recorded a 33.07 in the U15 Division 1 freestyle and went on to swim over .5 of a second quicker in the U16 Division 2 freestyle (32.41).
Also racing in the U15 age division, Madeline McShane was thrilled with her performances throughout the night. Madeline smashed her personal best to swim a 31.73 in the U15 Division 2 freestyle. This was a fraction of a second quicker than her performance in the U16 Division 3 freestyle (31.84). She also smashed her previous best by nearly three seconds to record a 38.78 in the U16 Division 2 backstroke and was a real asset in the U15 freestyle relay which was placed 6th in their event.
Newcomers to the team this year were year 8 students Jamie Ford and Dana Hurrell. Jamie commenced her program with the U14 Division 2 backstroke. She swam this event in a close to personal best time of 37.06 to be placed 3rd. With a tight turn around to the U16 Division 1 backstroke she couldn’t quite maintain the same pace and recorded a 38.66. Jamie also raced the U14 Division 3 freestyle (33.60) and the U14 Division 3 breastroke (46.47 – 3rd). Dana won the U14 Division 2 breastroke in a time of 41.20 seconds and followed this shortly after with an almost copycat performance in the U15 Division 1 race to finish 4th (41.15). Both Jamie and Dana were members of a number of the age group freestyle relay teams as well.
It was awesome to have Jarrod Stolz (year 8) return to the pool in preparation for the event. Jarrod competed in a full program of both individual and teams racing. Jarrod was placed third in the U14 Division 3 breastroke (45.99) and held pace nicely for the U16 Division 1 event shortly after (46.57). He recorded a new personal best time of 37.61 in the U15 Division 3 freestyle event and represented the region in both the U14 and U15 freestyle relay events. Team mate Harrison Adams who is also in year 8 this year continued to hold form well after a length summer competition schedule. Similarly to Jarrod, Harrison had three individual events. Up first was the U14 Division 2 backstroke which Harrison completed in a 37.41 to finish in 3rd place. His time was a new personal best for this distance and a clear 2 seconds quicker than his performance at the State Championships in January. Harrison also raced the U14 Division 2 freestyle which he completed in a 30.76 to finish 4th closely followed by a 30.91 in the U15 Division 1 freestyle event. Both of these times also represented clear improvements from his performance at the Country Championships where he recorded a 31.12 over the same distance.
Patrick Newman was a new addition to the team after putting his hand up to fill one of the positions left after the departure of a number of team representatives through to boarding school in Adelaide. Patrick is new to competition pool racing and after a crash course over a couple of training sessions in Port Lincoln he did the team proud to record a 55.66 for the U15 Division 2 breastroke. Unfortunately, he was disqualified in his subsequent race.
Port Lincoln High School also encouraged its students to nominate for the event. Cameron Akehurst performed particularly well, winning the 50m Division 1 U14 freestyle in a new personal best time of 28.96 seconds; this was an amazing achievement. He also finished 4th in the Division 1 U14 backstroke (35.95 seconds), and was also 4th in the 50m Division 1 breaststroke (42.64 seconds).
Brooklyn George supported the team by swimming the U15 Division 2 breaststroke (50.91 seconds) and through her freestyle relay contribution for the U16 girls, who finished 8th (2 minutes and 18 seconds).
Alleigh Hamnett has been dedicated to maintaining regular swimming training despite the rigours of senior school study and part-time work commitments. She finished 4th in the U16 Division 2 breaststroke (43.92 seconds) and was also part of the U16 freestyle relay team alongside Brooklyn.
Navigator College and Tumby Bay Area School (TBAS) both fielded one swimmer for the team. India Copland is a Year 9 student at the College who has previously represented South Australia at the Pacific School Games in 2015. India performed well to record a 34.15 (3rd) in the U14 Division 1 backstroke and a 29.62 (3rd) in the U14 Division 1 freestyle. Her backstroke race was a personal best time. India also stepped up as part of the open girls’ medley relay and freestyle relay as well as anchoring her U14 age group freestyle team. Christopher Bawden also in Year 9 but at TBAS has been committed to his training throughout the summer season. He raced three individual events the open butterfly, open breastroke and U15 Division 1 breastroke. In his first race he recorded a 30.19 (personal best for butterfly) and went on to finish 2nd in his age group breastroke race (35.48) and 7th in the open division (36.13). Christopher also swam breastroke in the open medley relay and was a key member of the 4 x 50m open freestyle team which recorded a time of 1.59.44 to finish in 9th position.
Cummins Area School have encouraged a number of new members to the team which has been appreciated considering the departure of some key individuals through to Adelaide boarding schools, as a result of successful scholarship applications. Ned Fuss and Gaeton Gerber both put their hand up to race and offered some excellent results. Ned tore down the pool in the Open Division 3 50m freestyle to clock a 31.13, whilst Gaeton competed in the U16 Division 3 competition and finished in 36.05 seconds. Both boys were on the U16 4 x 50m freestyle relay team who finished 8th (2.15.39).
Keiran Stephens has been training with West Coast Swimming Club for a number of years and made himself available for his second SASSSA representative team. Kieran is an excellent sprinter who is highly suited to this style of meet. He recorded two personal best times on the night. Firstly, a 30.25 to be placed 8th in the Open Division 1 butterfly and secondly, a 27.59 to finish 7th in the Open Division 1 freestyle. He also competed in the U16 Freestyle Division 1 competition and finished in 6th position (28.59).
Thomas Klingberg from Kimba Area School also nominated for the team and was offered the opportunity to swim in three individual races. He quickly acclimatised to competitive swimming protocols through marshalling and pool deck race preparations. He held his own in all three races recording a 47.60 in the U15 Division 2 backstroke, a 50.50 in the U16 Division 2 backstroke and a 38.73 in the U15 Division 2 freestyle.
Representative school sport is an important opportunity that is fostered across the Eyre Peninsula. It is exciting to see students jump at the chance to interact with motivated and enthusiastic students with a similar interest in maintaining their health and fitness through their involvement in swimming from other Eyre Peninsula schools.
Secondary school students will again be invited to nominate for consideration into the 2017 SASSSA A grade swim team later in the school year. The Port Lincoln Pool has plenty of opportunities for interested students to improve their fitness through lap swimming or involvement in programs such as SwimFit. The West Coast Swimming Club also provides coaching support for students who are proficient swimmers and who hold a reasonable level of speed and aquatic fitness. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonia Ford is our publicity officer and would love to hear of noteworthy news items from our swimming community!