West Coast swimmers were on the road again for their second consecutive weekend away at competition. The venue this time was the Port Pirie Swimming Pool to contest their open carnival. The competition offered a full program of swimming including 400m, 800m and 1500m events. 9 swimmers attended the meet bringing home plenty of swimming bling for their efforts. Kellie Dennis (12) and Tommy Ford (12) have both been working hard on developing a 400m freestyle event and Kellie completed her race in second place in 6 minutes and 17 seconds and Tommy finished in first place in 5 minutes and 57 seconds. Ellie McInerney (12) was showing increasing race confidence and she is back to contesting 100m events finishing the 100m freestyle in 2.05.35. Sophie Traeger (9) performed confidently in the 10 and under age group taking home five individual medals. She walked away with gold in the 50m breastroke (56.70) and 50m backstroke (49.86). Also competing in this age group was Kyle McInerney (9) who also added to his medals from Whyalla with a third placing in the 50m backstroke (54.32). At this early stage in their understanding of competitive swimming, there are many important elements to master including an effective dive, efficient underwater work, completing their race with determination and speed using the approved competition finishes. Jamie Ford (11) competed in a full program of 100m events and was pleased to continue to improve her backstroke (1.41.58) time and breastroke (1.50.53). She also is working hard to develop her 200m Individual medley showing a high level of technical proficiency across all four strokes – her time of 3.30.54 is a three second improvement on her performance at the SA Country Championships. Tommy Ford (12) was thrilled with his haul of 7 gold medals at the event. Tommy is continuing to show his efficiency in backstroke completing the 100m event in 1.25.31. He was also the backstroke representative in the 4 x 50m Medley Relay team who walked away with first placing. Joining him to complete the 200m in 2.33.60 was Brooklyn George (12) breastroke, Brooke Traeger (15) butterfly and Coen George (14) freestyle.
Brooklyn George had one of her most successful meets to date taking home her first ever individual gold medal placings. Her strength as a breastroke specialist shone through to finish first in both the 50m (48.04) and 100m (1.47.08) events. Both of these were personal best performances. Coen George (14) gave the team plenty of opportunities to cheer as he contested the ‘Dash for Cash’ – a 50m freestyle event that is reserved for the fastest male swimmers of the meet. With a 50m freestyle time consistently around the 30 / 31 second mark Coen made it through the first knock out round. The competition ended up being taken out by a National Age qualifier from Whyalla. Brooke Traeger (15) continues to amass a huge number of open carnival points which accumulate towards club trophies awarded at the end of the swimming season. She accrued 132 points by achieving 5 gold medals and two bronze placings. Again one of the fastest females at the meet Brooke was invited to contest the ‘Dash for Cash’ – run in a skins format swimmers contest consecutive 50m freestyle races to determine the fastest individual on the day. Brooke proudly took home $50 for her efforts.
The Port Pirie Open Water Swim was held the following day and provided another opportunity for Brooke Traeger (15) to show her strength in this style of event. Staged over a triangular course adjacent to the Port Pirie Warf conditions for the swim were ideal with limited tidal movement, light winds and the water temperature still holding its summer warmth. Brooke had her work cut out for her as she battled over every metre of the 2000m race with Paige Maynard from Playford Aquatic Club to eventually pip her by just a few arm strokes at the finish line. Brooke took home two generous prize cheques provided by Nyrstar - the first for being the fastest female ($200) and the second for being placed second over the finish line ($150). She completed the race in 27 minutes and 35 seconds. In recognition of the battle waged between the two girls over the entire course Nyrstar matched the prize money for Paige. Also competing in the event were siblings Tommy (12) and Jamie Ford (11) together with their mother Sonia. This was Tommy's first time wearing a red cap reserved for the fastest qualifying swimmers and he confidently completed the course in 32 minutes and 12 seconds. Sonia was able to keep Jamie at bay finishing 35 minutes and 20 seconds - five minutes ahead of Jamie who was the event's youngest swimmer. All competitors were asked to wear a black arm band for the duration of the swim in honour of the loss of a long standing life member of the Port Pirie swimming club who traditionally collected the caps at the end of the meet.
Author - Sonia Ford
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