From the 16th - 18th of July, swimmers headed to the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre for three intense days of age group competition to determine South Australia’s age group and open Short Course Champions in the pool. During the summer season athletes will conduct the majority of their competition in a 50m (Long Course) swimming pool and then over winter the competition program focuses on events in a shorter distance pool set to 25m (Short Course). All of the team members had secured the qualification prerequisites through previous competition results. Spirits soared as personal best times in a number of events were improved and individuals finished ranked amongst the most competitive swimmers in their respective age groups. With events being resulted based upon performances in heat swims, there was additional pressure to produce a perfect performance. In the week leading up to the Championships a number of swimmers took up chance to train with the squad at Immanuel College where previous club coach Carolyn Veldhuyzen is currently based.
From her 8 events swum, Jade Calverley proved she is one of South Australia’s best multiclass athletes, being award gold in all but one of her events. Jade recently attended a gathering of athletes who have been placed on the ‘Long List’ of athletes who are being considered for possible selection into the 2016 Rio Paralympic Team and proudly wore her International Paralympic attire to the competition. Managing an injury to her wrist, Jade was unable to post her most competitive times, but still swam with purpose and passion. Through her performances at earlier competitions Jade has achieved the qualification standards necessary to contest the Australian Short Course Championships in November in both breastroke and freestyle and has her sights firmly set on this competition.
Joel Edmonds gave the team a real boost with his outstanding performance in the 11 and under 100m freestyle event, which saw him up on the medal podium having recorded the third fastest time in South Australia for his age group. His time of 1.10.01 was a massive thirteen second improvement and with further race experience and refinement of his starts, turns and finishes Joel will certainly be one to watch in this event. Joel didn’t stop at this first event. narrowly missing medals in the 100m butterfly (1.25.38) to finish 5th, 50m freestyle (32.08) to finish 4th and 200m freestyle (2.44.15) to finish 9th.
Max Rogaliski competed in the same age group as his teammate Joel and was focussed on building on his previous experience at State Championship level from January. Max was thrilled to post personal best times in each of his four races and recorded his most competitive times in breastroke. Building on his trade mark super quick reaction time off the starting blocks, Max placed 6th in both the 11 and under 50m breastroke (44.04) and 100m breastroke (1.37.89). His 50m freestyle time has now dropped to 35.31 seconds which improved his previous best by a clear second. His final race of the meet was his 50m backstroke which again saw him wipe 2 seconds from his personal best to finish in 42.67 seconds.
Competing at her first State Championships, Kylie Hurrell contained her nerves and swum two excellent breastroke events. She was able to hold her stroke well for the duration of both races and finished strongly on each occasion. Her 50m time was bettered by .58 of a second to record a 48.61 and with further development of her starts and turns Kylie will be poised for a very exciting SA Country Championships in January.
Two swimmers represented West Coast in the 12 year old girls’ age group. Dana Hurrell is incredible to watch in her events and actively supports her team mates with plenty of positive encouragement. Through her dedication to training and willingness to incorporate coaching feedback, she made some amazing improvements at this event and finished top ten for her age group in both the 50m and 100m breastroke events. Her 50m time was recorded as a 40.34 whilst she wiped three seconds off her 100m time to record a 1.30.27. Dana’s fitness showed throughout the 200m breastroke where she successfully swam a huge 15 seconds faster than she did in January in the same event. Her time was clocked at 3.14.06.
Also competing as a 12 year old, Jamie Ford was able to execute her most successful meet to date walking away with personal best times in all 6 events swum. Her first event of the meet was the 200m butterfly and Jamie finished 5 seconds better than she had previously swum in 3.03.21. Next on the program was the 100m backstroke and she finished in 8th position in 1.18.31 followed by the 100m butterfly in which she literally flew to finish 4 seconds quicker (1.20.26). Jamie loves a 50m sprint event and in the 50m Backstroke she finished 7th in an awesome time of 35.83. In the 50m freestyle she well and truly blitzed her heat on her start to finish in 31.83 seconds (11th) and in her pet event the 50m butterfly she recorded her first sub 34 second swim (33.84 seconds) to record her most competitive placing in 6th.
Christopher Bawden had set himself a busy schedule with 7 events over the three days of competition. Competing as a 14 year old at this meet certainly saw the competition standard heat up. Chris was able to record personal best swims in the 200 metre breastroke where he swam a 2.49.52 to finish in 7th position. He also lowered his 100m breastroke time to 1.18.44 to place 8th and narrowly missed the hat trick of personal bests in the 50m event by .1 of a second, recording a result of 36.71 seconds. Chris also swam the 400m freestyle (5.05.31) and with a little more race experience will quickly drop this event to under the 5 minute mark. His 100m freestyle also has plenty of potential to work down around the minute mark with some careful attention to maintaining consistent low 16 second splits over 25 metres and working hard to hold an efficient streamline after each turn. Chris’s time of 1.05.11 shows he is holding is fitness well over winter and will reap the benefits of regular attendance at training as we come into the summer season. He swam a very quick 50m freestyle race of 28.54 seconds which was a nice .3 second personal best and finished the meet with a 50m butterfly, reaching the end of the pool in a 31.30 which was again quicker than he has ever managed the race previously.
Jamie Ford (12 years) 50m Butterfly - 33.84
The coaching team at West Coast Swimming Club would like to congratulate all of those swimmers attending the championships. Age group swimming can certainly be a challenging environment for swimmers, as the category they are placed in is determined by the age the swimmer is on the first day of the swimming meet. For some swimmers this means swimming with competitors that can be up to 11 months older than they are and can result in a false perception of how competitive they are as compared to swimmers of a similar physical developmental phase in their adolescence. The club places the emphasis on swimmers striving to record personal best times and instead benchmarking their performance against the Junior Excellence and Youth Performance Squad age group criteria.
The club is also extremely proud to announce that they have been listed as a finalist in the community sport category in this year’s Brand SA Regional Awards. The competitive swimming year commences on the 1st of October and the club is always keen to receive enquiries from interested able bodied or swimmers with a disability who are interested in learning more about how they can take advantage of being involved in the sport. More information is available via www.westcoastswimmingclub.com
Members of the West Coast Swimming Club had the opportunity to update their long course (50m) personal best times at the Playford Aquatic Winter Carnival on the first Sunday of the school holidays (July 5th). The carnival was hosted at the Elizabeth Aquadome and focused on the provision of a full program of freestyle and backstroke events. The club then offers a second long course carnival in September focussing on breastroke and butterfly events.
Star performer of the meet was Arjay Isles (9 years) who medalled in each of his races. He has now dropped under the 40 second mark for the 50 freestyle finishing in 38.67 seconds, to record the second fastest time for 10 and under boys. He followed this up in the 100m freestyle with a bronze medal, recording a personal best of 1.34.15. Heading into the backstroke, Arjay completed the 50m race in 46.66 seconds to add another silver medal and knocked 5 seconds of his previous best in the 100m race to finish with his 3rd silver placing in 1.37.57.
Biggest improver was Jessica Mesecke, who at 11 years of age has demonstrated a much better understanding of race skills such as turns and starts and together with her dedication to training, has knocked some serious time off of her previous personal bests. Jessica started with a three second improvement on her freestyle to almost crack the 40 second barrier to finish in 40.66 seconds. She added another personal best in the 100m freestyle with a 1.39.20. Moving into the backstroke, she finished the 50m race in 51.03 seconds and wiped 8 seconds of her 100m previous best to record a finishing time of 1.48.36 seconds.
Tasmin Durdin (11 years) continued to show her talent as a longer distance freestyler recording a massive personal best of 3.00.16 in the 200m event. This removed 23 seconds from her previous best and is well under the Country Championships Standard Time of 3.20.00 for 12 year olds. Her 100m freestyle posted an improvement of 4 seconds to record a 1.25.51 which again is well under the standard required for 11 year olds at the Country Championships. Tasmin also performed extremely well in the 200m backstroke recording a 3.27.31 and it is fantastic to see a young swimmer expanding her repertoire of swims.
Stuart Mesecke (13 years) was all smiles in the 50m freestyle with a new personal best of 34.52 seconds and he maintained a very competitive performance in the 100m race finishing in 1.21.94. It was awesome to see him also improve his 100m backstroke by two seconds to record a 1.38.86, showing that his regular attendance at winter training is setting him up for a very successful summer season.
Jamie Ford (12 years) pumped out her best race of the day for the 50m backstroke 38.12 to take out the gold medal placing in this event. Jamie was also thrilled with her 200m backstroke performance recording a 3.09.82 which was three seconds better than her previous best. Fine tuning race skills performance has been an important focus for Jamie in the lead up to the SA State Age Short Course event in the second week of the school holidays.
South Australian State Team Member Bridie Mickan (10 years) also took advantage of the opportunity to practice her race skills in the lead up to the Pacific School Games held in November this year. Bridie added to her collection of swimming bling with a silver medal in the 10 and under 50m freestyle (37.99), a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle (1.27.48) and a bronze in the 50m backstroke (45.95).
Youngest members of the team; Evie Durdin (9 years) , Yarra Mickan (8 years) and Asta Mickan (6 years) all performed really well and enjoyed the opportunity to race in a new environment. Every pool presents the challenge to adapt to different starting blocks and check turning distances from the wall and for swimmers new to competition racing this add to pre-race nerves. Evie bettered both her 50m freestyle (48.18) and backstoke (56.06) times and created official times for her 100m races in both strokes. Yarra knocked two seconds off his 50m freestyle to record a 47.55, three seconds of his 100m backstroke (2.03.23) and five seconds off his 100m freestyle (1.53.23). At only 6 years of age Asta managed herself responsibly in marshalling and was able to set a new time in the 100m backstroke (2.27.94), record a personal best in the 50 backstroke (1.10.07) and come very close to her existing benchmark in the 50m freestyle (1.00.14).
The Playford Aquatic Club meet was certainly a worthwhile addition to the club’s competition calendar. It was well supported by many metropolitan and country swimming clubs, offered a very competitive field, attracted plenty of sponsorship from local businesses, included excellent food and catering and ran particularly smoothly. The meet enabled West Coast swimmers to evaluate their current winter training regime and re-evaluate their competition goals leading into the summer swimming carnival season.
Author - Sonia Ford
Sonia is our publicity officer and would love to hear of noteworthy news items from our swimming community!