Held at the Gunnedah Rugby Club, the annual Swimming Gunnedah presentation awards recognised the achievements of local swimmers during the recent season at carnivals, club nights and at representative level, as well as sportsmanship, effort and encouragement.
Jacob Smith capped off a stellar season after receiving the Steve and Cathy Smith award for 100 per cent effort, the coach’s award for achievement and the James and Jenny Meyers award for most successful at state or country championships.
His sister Tahlia, 13, who has just returned from the Australian Age Championships, also won the coach’s award for achievement, Alex Thompson was recognised with the Eileen Carter encouragement award, Matilda Denovan and Baxter Knapman took home the Apex encouragement awards, Josh Spinks won the Lyn Miller sportsmanship award and the Mikie Maas “In the Spirit of the Games” award was given to Audrey Hannaford. The president’s award, the Claire Walker Trophy, went to dedicated committee member Lisa Steele.
The junior outstanding achievement award went to Molly Ramien, Jacob Smith won the intermediate (11-13 years), while Jedd Rennick was recognised with the senior award (14 and over).
Six years and under: Jimmy Loveridge; 7-8 years boys: Max Smith, runner-up Rafe Denovan; 9-10 years girls: Molly Ramien, runner-up Alexis Whitton; 9-10 years boys: Josh Spinks, runner-up Liam Smith; 11-12 years girls: Audrey Hannford, runner-up Dana Campbell; 11-12 years boys: Jacob Smith, runner-up Zach Akinyemi; 13-14 years girls: Tahlia Smith; 13-14 years boys: Lachie Davey, runner-up Alex Thompson; 15 and over girls: Brooke Rennick; 15 and over boys: Andre Steele, runner-up Jedd Rennick. Open girl champion: Danika Jones, runner-up Tahlia Smith; Open boys: Jacob Smith; runner-up Baxter Knapman.
Swimmers were also recognised for achievement for this season’s club nights, held fortnightly. Molly Ramien won the club night’s most improved awards for girls freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and individual medley and was runner-up in the backstroke. Hannah Akinyemi won the girls backstroke and was runner-up in the freestyle and individual medley, while Matilda Denovan took home awards for runner-up in the girls breaststroke and butterfly.
Zach Akinyemi was recognised for his great season, being awarded the most improved for butterfly and individual medley and shared the breaststroke award with Cooper Whitton and Will Jansen. Brock Jensen and Baxter Knapman were the runners-up.
Freestyle boys awards went to Alex Thompson, with Liam Smith the runner-up, and Cooper Whitton won the boys backstroke while Jacob Smith was the runner-up. Jacob also bagged the boys butterfly runner-up award. Will Jansen took home the runner-up award for most improved individual medley boy.
Pool and club record breakers were also recognised along with state, country, and national representatives.
Coach John Hickey was high in his praise of the swimmers after a difficult season, noting that the more competitive squad members challenged each other in every set, while the younger members were inspired and encouraged by their commitment.