West Coast Swimming Club members Bridie Mickan (Cummins Area School) and India Copland (Navigator College) had the amazing opportunity to represent South Australia at the Pacific School Games, which was hosted in Adelaide commencing on Saturday 21st of November and concluding on Friday 27th. This multi-sport, international sporting event is coordinated through School Sport Australia and attracted competitors from every Australian State and Territory as well as 12 international teams from countries such as New Zealand, Fiji, China, India, Macau and Cambodia.
The Games attracted 4000 participants to Adelaide. Of them, some 600 were involved in the swimming events. To qualify, swimmers must be in the top 4 swimmers within their respective age group, attended scheduled qualifying meets and regularly competing and training at the highest level.
Swimming in the 10 year old girls age group, Bridie performed exceptionally well throughout the championships, achieving a personal best time in every race. To start the competition off she swam the 200m Individual medley - a race which she has been working towards improving for some time. This was followed by the breastroke leg for her relay team which she finished in 44.29 seconds. A huge personal best (PB) time. Day 2 in the pool saw her back this up with a fantastic 50 breastroke in the heats of the 10 year old girls’ event smashing out another new PB of 44.02 which qualified her through to the final in 10th position. She was the only SA Swimmer to make it into the final and swam a blinder. Off the block in .71 seconds and finished in 10th in another PB time of 43.55. This was 3 seconds faster than she was swimming just 4 weeks ago. Bridie also completed the 100m breastroke in a 1.39.12 (2 second PB from a month ago) finishing in 10th position, the 50 backstroke where she whipped off another 2 seconds recording a 41.52, the 100m backstroke (1.31.82) and swam numerous freestyle relay events representing her team.
Swimming in the 13 year old girls age group, India Copland’s first race was in the freestyle leg of the 4 x 50m Medley Relay. She certainly finished of the race in fine style clocking a personal best swim of 28.66 seconds. She also had the opportunity to compete in this sprint event as an individual competitor and recorded a very competitive time of 28.85 seconds which was just .15 of a second shy of the National Age Qualifying time for 13 year old girls. She was placed 17th with the winner of this event just a little over one second infront of India. India continued her run of personal best swims finishing the 100m freestyle in a 1.08.22 as part of the 4 x 100 Medley Relay team and another PB in the 50 backstroke of 34.16 to finish in 13th position.
The Pacific School Games is quite a spectacle with official opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies, visits by past Olympians and the ever present Games mascot "Matey". Swimmers are given the opportunity to make new friends through educational excursions to iconic Adelaide attractions such as the Adelaide Zoo. Both the girls are members of West Coast Swimming Club and are able to make use of the training regime provided at the Port Lincoln Pool. Along with 41 other club representatives they now have their sights set on competing at the SA Country Championships in Loxton commencing on Friday 8th of January and will be working hard to perform at their best at the SA State Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide later on that same month.
Author - Sonia Ford
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