THE Eyre Peninsula farming town of Cummins seems the unlikely birthplace of a great swimming talent, but Amelia Dahlitz is making it in the big league, holding her own with the nation's best young swimming stars. She is ranked number one nationally for the 50-metre breaststroke in the 16-year-old girls division with a time of 31.73 seconds, second in the 100m breaststroke with 1:10.13s and second in the 200m breaststroke with 2:32.51s. She is also ranked 9th in the 100m freestyle with a time of 57.67s. Amelia achieved these impressive times at the Telstra Australian Open Short Course Swimming Championships in Brisbane, Chandler Pool, in July. She swam against Olympic star Leisel Jones in the breaststroke events, coming 8th in the 50m and making first in her age group rankings. Amelia says she owes everything to her parents and grandparents - from swimming at a small community pool to competing against Australia's best and bringing her Olympic goals closer. "I couldn't have done anything like this without them," she said.
"I was very lucky they were prepared to do everything they did." Cummins is not the easiest base for a budding swimmer, with limited facilities - the 25m pool is only open for six months of the year - and a 130-kilometre round trip to Port Lincoln for coaching and training. Her parents, Tracey and Joe Dahlitz, Roemahkita Poll Merino stud, Cummins, were always prepared for early starts and long journeys for competitions and
training with Amelia's coach Carol Veldhuyzen, Port Lincoln. She would often stay overnight with Carol before early morning sessions. Amelia's family recognised her natural talent and with dedication, determination and hard work from all concerned, the best was made of opportunities to further her career.
The West Coast Swimming Club recently conducted its first ever State level open swimming carnival at the Port Lincoln Leisure Centre. The carnival was a huge success for the swimmers and the club. Swimmers from around the State came from the Adelaide metropolitan area and many regional centres. Sixty-six swimmers competed for medals and prizes donated by West Coast businesses. The club's secretary Tracey Dahlitz from Cummins said that the carnival only went ahead with the great support of the Port Lincoln Leisure Centre, DI Fishing and Boston Bakery. There were also many other contributors responsible for assistance like event prizes, medals and raffle prizes that all went towards the successful conduct of the event.
The carnival was organised and run by the club using parents as officials with quite a lot of assistance from clubs like Whyalla. Rod Sandercock, president of the West Coast Club, said that all officials worked tirelessly on the day to present a smooth operation. Swim SA, the State level body that oversees swimming in this State provided an official referee, Mr Phil Bowan, who said the carnival was a great example of what small communities can do when everyone works together. He congratulated the West Coast Club on the carnival and especially its swimmers who all achieved very highly on the day. West Coast swimmers came from the membership right across Eyre Peninsula including Ceduna, Streaky Bay, Lock, Cummins, Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln.
Club coach Deb Wareing was especially impressed with the swimmers from the Far West who produced some good times, some at their own first carnival. Young Ceduna swimmer Emma Rose Eckert was one of those, winning a gold medal in a handicap event. Hayley Williams from Streaky Bay won a silver and three bronze medals in her first competition. Another first time competitor, Lauren Kolega from Port Lincoln, won a gold
and two silvers against good competition. Kieran Whait swam really good times but was not able to win a medal against strong competition in the boys' ranks. Chris and Peter Wareing did well winning many gold medals between them including the premier events in their age groups, the 200 metre Individual Medleys which carried $50 cash prizes.
The biggest club competing on the day was Whyalla and they also carried away most of the medals. The Whyalla club also provided many of the key official positions, without which the event could not have proceeded. Competitors and their families who travelled far such as from Adelaide and Leigh Creek commented that the carnival timing at just a few days after Christmas encouraged them to have a holiday on the West Coast as well and they discovered that was a very enjoyable experience. Many spent several days in the city and had a great Christmas break before the competition.
Tiffany Perin is our publicity officer and would love to hear of noteworthy news items from our swimming community!