“Every kid competed with heart and determination today making me a very proud coach. Records, pbs, wins and losses – we competed, we fought, we never quit.”

Swimming Gunnedah coach John Hickey was on a high after the club’s two-day carnival went off without a hitch – even the rain did not dampen spirits as his 40-strong squad rounded off a successful meet with 69 gold, 40 silver and 45 bronze medals.

A total of 63 pool records fell over the weekend, with officials still checking the club records.

Eleven-year-old Jacob Smith’s star continues to rise, with the promising youngster competing over distances from 50m to the 400m freestyle and the gruelling 400m medley. Jacob competed in 17 events over the weekend winning 10 gold, four silver and a bronze, with his name also in the pool record books.

Josh Spinks (9) had a cracker of a carnival, competing in nine events for four gold, three silver and a bronze, while Molly Ramien (9) continued her good from the Dubbo carnival, winning five races from 11 events, two silver and a bronze. She also improved her personal best times in five events. Clubmate Eugenie Goddard (10) had a successful meet, winning a bronze in the 200m freestyle after improving her time by 27 seconds. She also improved and won silver in the 50m breaststroke and 100m fly, with a relay bronze to add to her swag.

Hard work is paying off for 12-year-old Zach Akinyemi, who took on the 1500m for the first time and swam into third place. He nailed a strong win in the 50m breaststroke with a personal best time and finished third in three other events, while his younger sister Hannah (9) improved her best time by six seconds to grab bronze in the 50m fly. She also finished second in breaststroke.

It was a huge carnival for 10-year-old Alexis Whitton who entered nine individual events, winning four gold, two silver, a bronze and a relay bronze.

Twelve-year-old Dana Campbell had a successful weekend, eclipsing her entry times in four events, with a strong win in the 50m backstroke after slashing four seconds from her best. Dana also picked up two silver and a bronze, while little sister Alexis (9) improved her entry time by an amazing 15 seconds in breaststroke and just missed a medal in backstroke, Lachlan Davy registered 10 personal best times from as many races, with 43 seconds slashed from his best in the 200m freestyle. The rapidly improving 13-year-old won two events, claimed second place in three, and finished third in three races, while clubmate Audrey Hannaford improved her entry time by six seconds to snatch gold in the 11-12 years 100m butterfly and silver in the 50m race. The speedster also won silver in backstroke and two relay events, with a bronze in the 50m freestyle. 

Another big improver breaking through is 11-year-old Baxter Knapman, who registered personal best times in four from 14 events, and went home with a relay gold, two individual silver and four bronze medals. His best improvement was in the 400m freestyle where he bettered his entry time by more than 30 seconds. He also clocked an impressive time in his first attempt at the 400m individual medley.

The club’s veteran swimmers Jedd Rennick and Amelia Lush (15) and Andre Steele (17) turned in a strong showing, with Jedd claiming silver and three bronze along with relay gold. His sister Brooke (17) picked up a relay bronze and was always on hand to encourage the club’s tadpoles. Amelia won the 15 and over 100m backstroke with silver in the 50m event and relay silver and bronze, while Andre Steele returned to support his club winning relay gold, a silver and four bronze. The teenager has ventured into the workforce this year and with very limited training managed to record some good times.
In the 13 years division, Tahlia Smith won the 50m freestyle and took part in two medal winning relays, while Danika Jones (12) improved in two events and won relay silver. Scout Newbery faced tough competition in the 14 years events, but her victory came in six personal best times, with a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke and a relay bronze. Scout clipped more than six seconds from her best in the 200m freestyle.

Liam Smith was a bronze medallist in the 10 and under 200m medley also winning two relay bronze, while Max Smith (7) scored a big win in the eight and under 25m backstroke and freestyle. 

Felicity Gough shaved two seconds from her best to grab first place in the 11 years 50m breaststroke, while training partner Katie Spinks was a bronze medallist in the event. Cooper Whitton grabbed silver in the 11 years 50m backstroke and a relay bronze, while Alexander Thompson (14) won relay gold and an individual bronze with a seven-second improvement in the 14 years 50m fly.

Matilda Denovan continues to surprise at every meet, with six personal best times, a silver in the 200m freestyle and bronze in the 50m freestyle as well as a relay bronze. Little brother Rafe (7) swam in four events, even taking on 100m races in the 10 and under division, while Coen Gough (9) improved in three events and won relay bronze.

Tadpole Olivia Lyons improved in two events and picked up a silver in the eight years 25m breaststroke after taking more than nine seconds off her best time. She also won silver in fly, while nine-year-old Sienna Swain won bronze in the nine years 50m breaststroke and freestyle. Josie Knapman was just edged out of a medal in the nine years 50m breaststroke. The club’s tiny tot Jimmy Loveridge (6) swam in the eight an under events and recorded two improved times.

The club has emerging talent in Tahni Bush, Chelsea Rossler (12) and Shiloh Moore (11) who are improving every carnival, with eight-year-old Nicholas Swain shining in the nine years 50m freestyle, while eleven-year-old Will Jansen improved in three events with a relay bronze to take home.

Swimming Gunnedah nailed first place in two relays, flew into second in two events and third in three relays.

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