FOLLOWING on from strong performances at the SA Country Championships in Broken Hill, a number of West Coast swimmers headed to the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Marion to contest the 2018 State Long Course Age Championships from January 16 to 21. The championships are open to interstate and international competitors and there were large teams from Victoria and the Northern Territory present along with individuals from all other Australian states. The championships are hosted over 6 days, which allowed for morning seeded heats to then decided the ten age group finalists in each event. Finals are run in the evening with interstate visitors allocated a maximum of two finals berths. Two reserves are also named to compensate for any late withdrawals.
Bryce Hammond, 11, was the star West Coast performer, at his third championship event over the past six weeks. Bryce completed the meet with the highest South Australian point score for his age group, beaten only by a very strong competitor from Sunraysia Swimming Club in Victoria on overall points. Points are allocated on a scale of 10 to one, with 10 points being allocated to the gold medal placing through to one point for 10th position. His persistence, sportsmanship and determination throughout the competition was an inspiration.Bryce fought hard to be named South Australian age group champion in the 11 and under 100m backstroke, which he completed in a personal best time of 1.16.82. He also blitzed the field in the 100m butterfly to secure the gold medal in a time of 1.11.68. Bryce added to his medal haul with silver in the 50m butterfly (32.54), 50m freestyle (30.15), 100m freestyle (1.07.96) and 50m backstroke (35.65 seconds). He also secured bronze in the 200m individual medley (2.49.52). Many of these performances were significant improvements from his initial ranking going into each final. All in all, Bryce took home seven medals together with personal best swims in every race.
Arjay Isle (12 years) raced extremely well, making strong improvements and building on his Country Championships performances. His most competitive results were in the 100m and 200m backstroke events where after morning heat swims of 1.21.51 and 2.51.64 respectively, he was called back as second reserve and ninth placed qualifier into the finals. Arjay was thrilled with a number of personal best freestyle swims clocking 32.55 in his 50m freestyle, 1.12.51 in his 100m freestyle and 2.39.00 in his 200m freestyle. All of these times ranked well on the Swimming Australia Junior Excellence schedule of qualification standards, edging close to silver level times.
Max Rogalski (14 years) continues to show strong potential in breastroke and works hard to make minor adjustments to his technique in order to shave off time from his previous best. He was invited back into finals for all three breastroke distances finishing in a 35.62 for his 50m race (fifth overall), 1.19.44 for the 100m event (eighth place overall) and 3.00.33 in the 200m race (ninth overall). Max is able to develop strong, encouraging relationships with his competitors and is especially enthusiastic when another country competitor is able to generate a personal best performance.
His exceptional sportsmanship and team spirit is always a highlight. Max also swam an excellent 50m butterfly to take almost two seconds off his previous best (31.90).
Jamie Ford (14 years) raced well, however competition fatigue had definitely set in during her third event this month. She posted two personal best times during the championships - one being in the 200m freestyle (2.26.52) and the other being in the 200m backstroke (2.49.45). Her most competitive performance was in the 50m butterfly, narrowly missing a finals place by less than 0.3 of a second.
West Coast swimmers are looking forward to participating in the Tunarama long swim this weekend and the countdown is also on to the Queen’s Baton Relay where four team members (Bryce Hammond, Max Rogalski and Kylie and Dana Hurrell) all have the honour of carrying the torch in either Port Lincoln or Coffin Bay. All swimmers are on a week-long training break in readiness for the 10-week build up to the Secondary School Sport South Australia and SAPSASA events scheduled for March in Adelaide.
18 swimmers from West Coast Swimming Club travelled through to Broken Hill to contest the 2018 Country Swimming Championships from the 5th- 8th of January 2018. With temperatures hovering around 40 degrees for the duration of the event, conditions were challenging and significant changes were required to the competition program for the safety of swimmers, officials and supporters.
Setting a new Championship Record for the 14 years 50m Butterfly was Jamie Ford who went out all guns blazing in a time of 31.82 seconds. This was also the fastest 50m female Butterfly time of the meet and earned her the title of Open SA Country Champion.
Awarded SA Country Champion in their respective age group events and bringing home gold medals were Joel Edmonds (14 year old 50m Butterfly - 31.17) and Dana Hurrell (15 year old 50m Breastroke - 40.21 seconds). Fresh from being named the Lower Eyre Peninsula Junior Sports Person of the year, Bridie Mickan listed the fastest time in the 12 year old 50m Breastroke (40.07 seconds) as well as the 12 and under 200m Individual Medley finishing in a new personal best time of 2.57.85.
Kylie Hurrell had a brilliant set of performances throughout the championships and was thrilled with her silver medal in the 13 year old 50m Breastroke - 42.32. Also awarded as a silver medalist was Max Rogalski who secured second place in both the 14 year old 50m Breastroke - 37.81 and the 100m Breastroke in the 14/15 age group in a new personal best time of 1.21.91.
Following on from his impressive performance at the 2017 Pacific School Games in Adelaide in December, Bryce Hammond was the fastest 10 year old butterfly swimmer and took out the 11 and under silver medal for both the 50m and 100m events in a time of 34.03 and 1.16.13 respectively. Bridie Mickan had an amazing swim in the 200m freestyle bettering her previous best by over 5 seconds to take out the silver medal in the 12 and under age group (2.38.23). She also placed second in the 12/13 100m Breastroke (1.26.06) and in the 12 years 50m Backstroke in a personal best of 37.46 seconds. Amali White performed extremely well with a silver medal in the 11 and under 50m Butterfly (39.32). Arjay Isle swam a strong Backstroke race in the 12 year old 50m event to take out the silver medal (38.68). Jamie Ford also was back on the medal podium for her efforts finishing in second position with a 35.47 in the 14 year old 50m Backstroke.
Bronze medalists were Amali White who really let it rip in the girls 11 and 100m Freestyle listing a 5 second personal best swim of 1.14.83 seconds. She also swam a .96 second personal best in the 50m event to finish in 3rd (33.69). Kylie Hurrell built on her medal haul with a bronze in the 12-13 400m freestyle (6.04.69). She also backed this up with a fantastic swim in the 100m breastroke (2.47 second personal best) to secure bronze in the 12 - 13 age group. Maddy McShane recorded a new personal best in the 16/17 years 100m butterfly of 1.22.58 to secure 3rd. Bridie Mickan showed her versatility receiving bronze in both the 12 year old girls 50m Butterfly (35.67) and the 12/13 100m Backstroke (1.22.22). Arjay Isle swam amazing races in both the 12 year old 50m Backstroke with a massive personal best swim of 38.71 seconds as well as the 100m event (1.21.93). Joel Edmonds showed a strong improvement in his technique to take out bronze in a 2.5 second personal best of 35.46 seconds in the 14 year 50m Backstroke. Harrison Blight was a strong competitor in the 11 and under 100m Breastroke, listing a 4.5 second personal best to take home his first Country Championship medal (Bronze - 1.37.06).
The tradition of strong relay performances continued with West Coast securing a fantastic win in the 12 and under 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay with Bryce Hammond, Ryder Rogalski, Harrison Blight and Arjay Isle all putting in 110% effort to beat the team from Clare who were also strong contenders. The boys finished this race in a 2.14.26. They also took out the gold medal in the 4 x 50m Medley Relay. They narrowly missed the existing Country Championship record for this event. The record stood at a 2.32.11 and they recorded a 2.32.27.
The 16 and under boys team (Max Rogalski, Harrison Adams, Joel Edmonds and Joseph Perin) collected a bronze medal for their efforts in the 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay (2.02.09). Also medalling in teams racing was the 14 and under girls team of Bridie Mickan, Kylie Hurrell, Jamie Ford and Amali White. The girls won the silver medal in a 2.23.96 behind the team from Blue Lake Y.
Preceding championship racing, younger swimmers are given the opportunity to participate in the ‘Superfish’ event which is held on Friday night. Asta Mickan competed in all 4 events placing first in the 8 and under 50m Freestyle (40.65), 50m Backstroke (51.30), 50m Breastroke (53.67) and second in the 50m Butterfly (1.05.69). Rahni White raced really well finishing second in both the 8 and under 50m Freestyle (45.01) and 50m Breastroke (1.01.55). She also raced the 50m Backstoke finishing third (57.85). Tyrell Nemeth-Ford (6 years) had a great 50m Freestyle finishing in 7th place in the 8 and under age group in a 1.08.11. He was a bit nervous about the 50m Backstroke but was a little trooper finishing in 9th place in a 1.27.01.
Congratulations to Kate Taverner on her acknowledgement at the Country Championships as our best team person. The club would also like to acknowledge the support given to the team by previous club member Natasha Hammond who served as Team Manager alongside Sonia Ford who was the Team Coach. The club has members about to contest the SA Long Course State Championships in Adelaide commencing on Tuesday 16th of January. The 2019 Country Swimming Championships will be hosted in Port Pirie.
Sonia Ford is our publicity officer and would love to hear of noteworthy news items from our swimming community!