Swimming Gunnedah has five new district  champions after a squad of 27 athletes contested the New England and North West area championship in their home pool last weekend.

Joshua Spinks and Alexis Whitten claimed the 10 years age championship trophies, with Jacob Smith awarded the 11 years and open champion titles, while his older sister Tahlia Smith was named 13 years age champion after a stellar day in the pool.

In a keenly contested point score, Gunnedah’s Hannah Akinyemi was runner-up in the nine years division, while her brother Zach finished a close second in the 12 years championship. After moving up an age group in recent weeks, Molly Ramien did well to finish runner-up in the 10 years division, with Alex Thompson swimming well to claim the runner-up title in the open events.

It was a huge weekend for swimming in Gunnedah with 177 competitors contesting the NSW Speedo Sprints regional heats on Saturday morning and 162 swimmers competing in the New England and North West Area championships on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. 

Area and pool records fell across the two days of competition, with 11-year-old Jacob Smith on fire in the pool, winning 12 gold medals, and eclipsing five individual area championship records – 11 years 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m fly, 100m fly, and  backstroke – along with two championship relay records in the 12 and under 200m boys medley and freestyle relays. He also broke two of his own club records.

Keeping it in the family, Jacob’s sister Tahlia Smith had a fantastic meet, shattering  championship records with gold medal performances in the 13 years 50m fly, 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke. She also won the 100m backstroke and picked up silver in the open 200m backstroke, 13 years 100m breaststroke and freestyle and 50m breaststroke with a bronze in the 200m medley. Tahlia clinched a significant club and area record in the 50m butterfly smashing Anne Launt’s record of 31.28 seconds set 30 years ago, stopping the clock at 30.65 seconds.

The boys 12 and under relay team made up of Jacob Smith, Baxter Knapman, Zach Akinyemi and Josh Spinks broke the area freestyle and medley relay records, and not to be outdone, the 10 and under girls’ team of Molly Ramien, Matilda Denovan, Eugenie Goddard and Alexis Whitton repeated the feat shattering the championship records in the freestyle and medley relays.

Swimming in the 10 years division, Alexis Whitton had a great carnival winning gold in the 50m freestyle, 100 freestyle, 50m and 100 backstroke, 50m and 100m breaststroke, and the 10 and under 200 individual medleys, with silver in the 50m fly.  

Josh Spinks had  a field day in the nine years events winning  seven gold medals, with winning performances in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke and  breaststroke, and 100 backstroke. The rapidly improving youngster turned in pleasing times to take second place in the nine years boys 50m fly, 100m breaststroke and 100m fly and backed up for the record breaking 12 and under relays.

Emerging stars Molly Ramien and Matilda Denovan competed in the 10 years age group with Molly winning the 50m and 100m fly, finishing second  in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 200m medley, 50m  and 100m backstroke and third in 100m breaststroke. Molly and Matilda were both part of the fast finishing the 10 and under 200m freestyle and medley relays –  in area record time, with Matilda adding silver in the 10 years 50m and 100m breaststroke, and 100m fly to her swag,  with bronze medals in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 200m medley.

Teammate Eugenie Goddard continued her good form registering personal best times and clinching a  bronze in the 50m breaststroke. 

Speedster Audrey Hannaford finished a flying second in the 12 years 50m butterfly, and swam strongly into third place in the 200 medley and 50m backstroke, with a gold medal in the relays. 

Nine-year-old Hannah Akinyemi continues to improve at every meet, and her strong win in the 50m breaststroke had club mates on their feet cheering her on. Hannah also jagged third place in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Older brother Zach Akinyemi swam strongly, winning silver in the 12 years 50m fly, 100m breaststroke, 200 medley and 100m fly where he shaved 5.77 seconds from his best time. He also finished a fighting second in the  50m breaststroke  and 100m backstroke.

Angus Hobson and Lachlan Davey faced strong competition in the  13 years division, with Angus giving away size to claim bronze in the 100m backstroke and gold in the 200m freestyle relay.

Although unplaced he slashed  6.19 seconds from his personal best time in the 200m breaststroke, while Lachlan Davey finished the day with silver in the 13 years 50m fly, bronze in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, and100m fly, taking home gold in the relay. 

Nine-year-old Liam Smith won silver in the 10 and under 200m individual medley and bronze in the nine years 50m fly, 100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, backstroke and  breaststroke. 

Katie Spinks (12) registered a huge improvement of 12.38 seconds in the open 200m breaststroke. Returning from injury, 12-year-old Tahnee Steele put in a  good effort competing in two relays. 

Fourteen-year-old Alex Thompson stretched himself over the longer distances winning the open 800m freestyle, finishing second in the open 400m freestyle third in the 50m freestyle and open 200m freestyle. Cooper Whitton (12)  picked up individual silver in the 50m backstroke, and bronze in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Although missing medals at the competitive championships, 12-year-old Tahni Bush recorded personal best times in the 50m and 200m breaststroke, while fellow swimmer Dana Campbell swam into third place in the 12 years 50m and 100m freestyle. 

Baxter Knapman had a huge carnival with 14 races – the rapidly improving teenager won silver in the 11 years 100m breaststroke, 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m breaststroke adding bronze to his medal haul in the 50m fly, and open 200m backstroke where he stripped an amazing taking 12.43 seconds from his entry time.

Eleven-year-old Will Jansen showed promise with fourth  place in the open 200m backstroke. 

Danika Jones (12) turned in a strong effort just missing a medal in the open 400m freestyle and clocking a personal best time in the 200m medley.  

Fourteen-year-old Scout Newbery registered an improved time in the 14 years 50m freestyle, while  seasoned performer Jedd Rennick won silver in the tough 15 and over division finishing second in the 50m fly and freestyle, 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke, with a hard-fought bronze in the 50m breaststroke.

Chelsea Rossler (12) nailed personal best times in the 50m freestyle and breaststroke, while younger brother Gareth Rossler (11) put in a good effort in his three races. 

The carnival raced ahead of time with the 800 metres event the last of the day.

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