Gunnedah swimmers have returned home from the New England and North West Short Course Championships in Armidale having broken a staggering 17 area records and bagging a swag of medals.
Held over two days at the University of New England, 14 Gunnedah swimmers were up against some of the best in the region with the squad once again proving its success in the pool following a stellar summer season. 
Eleven-year-old speedster and state and country medallist, Jacob Smith, set an astonishing nine area records, while nine-year-old Josh Spinks broke four, Molly Ramien set three and Hannah Akinyemi broke one.
Jacob showed his dominance in the water to add 12 gold medals to his collection and also broke four Gunnedah club records, including the long-standing 42-year-old  11-12 years boys 100m butterfly short course record, which has been held by Craig Davidson since 1980. The 11-year-old won gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, 100m and 200m individual medley, 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle, and bagged silver in the 200m breaststroke and backstroke. 
It was a clean sweep for gold for nine-year-old Josh Spinks who snatched nine medals and set four new area records in the 50m backstroke and freestyle and 100m breaststroke and butterfly. The handy sprinter also entered the history books by breaking the Gunnedah club record for the 50m backstroke and the 50m breaststroke, which dates back to 1984 and set by Todd Hobson. 
Molly Ramien, 10, also turned in an impressive performance to take home eight gold medals and break three area records in the 200m Individual medley, 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly where she was the only girl in her race. The speedy flier had to line up against the nine and 10-year-old boys, where she turned in a cracking performance to touch the wall first in a thrilling finish and take 8.43 seconds off her personal best time. She also broke a club record for the 50m butterfly which has been held by Samantha Hobson since 1991.
In the nine years girls’ events, Hannah Akinyemi dominated her age group, taking home eight gold from eight races, including an area record in the 50m backstroke where she surged ahead with a powerful finish and a 5.71 second improvement on her best time. That also meant a club record for Hannah, breaking Martha Beattie’s time set back in 1999.  
After some solid training, 12-year-old Audrey Hannaford is gaining momentum in the pool after securing an impressive six personal best times and a Gunnedah club record for the 50m butterfly, held since 2008 by Emma Donaldson. Audrey picked up silver in the 100m freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, the 200m Individual medley, 50m backstroke, butterfly and freestyle, bronze in the 100m individual medley and 50m and 100m breaststroke where she shaved 5.64 seconds off her best time. Katie Spinks, also 12, secured some great improvements in the 100m freestyle, 100m and 200m breaststroke. 
Zach Akinyemi, 12, came away with two gold medals –  the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley, while in the 13 years girls, Dana Campbell won silver in the 50m butterfly and backstroke and Chelsea Rossler bagged a bronze in the 50m breaststroke. 
In the 14 years boys, Lachie Davey, won silver in the 100m breaststroke and 100m individual medley and bronze in the 100m freestyle, butterfly and 50m breaststroke. Alex Thompson added another three bronze to his haul in the 50m, 200m and 400m freestyle events. Nine-year-old newcomer Camden Many continues to improve after taking home silver in the 50m backstroke and freestyle and bronze in the 100m freestyle with an 8.97 second personal best time, while club mate Cameron Sills, 8, picked up gold in the 50m breaststroke and freestyle and seven-year-old Max Smith won his 50m freestyle improving his entry time by 3.3 seconds. 

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