Eleven-year-old Jacob Smith set the tone early for the Gunnedah squad on the first day of competition at the NSW Country short-course swimming championships, winning silver in the 100m breaststroke. 
Swimming Gunnedah coach John Hickey said it was an unbelievable swim after the youngster shaved more than seven seconds off his personal best time.
“Jacob has now taken his breaststroke to another level,” Hickey said.
“The  club has built some strong competitors – across the board, we are swimming fast when required and the kids really deserve to be recognised for their competitiveness.
“Anytime someone swims a PB, it shows we are moving in the right direction. The fact we broke records and got medals along the way is a bonus. We are now focusing on the state short course championships  in September.”
A total of 777 competitors from across country NSW competed at the titles with Swimming Gunnedah sending a squad of 10 youngsters to Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
Jacob Smith competed in 11 individual races, achieving an amazing 10 personal best times. Along the way he broke 11 Gunnedah short-course club records – some of them his own. 
Most notable was the long-standing 11 years 50m breaststroke record of 39.39 seconds held by Craig Allgayer since September 15, 1984. Jacob smashed it with a time of 37.55, also claiming the 11-12 years 100m breaststroke record with  a time of 1.22.93. set by Clint Hartley (1:23.30) in 2000, the 11-12 years 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley records held by Kalin Eade since 2008. The 100m backstroke record set by Charlie Crawford in 2010 also fell to the speedster.
Jacob’s success in the pool continued with a convincing win in the 50m butterfly. His final medal tally included  six silver medals – 100m breaststroke (-7.14), 100m butterfly (-5.65),  50m breaststroke (-2.47), 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle (-1.55), 12 and the under 200 Individual medley (-2.97), along with bronze medals  in the 50m freestyle (-0.64) and 100m backstroke (-2.76). The rising young star added two finalist ribbons to his trophy haul, finishing fourth in the  200m freestyle (-3.01) and fifth in the 200m backstroke (-5.15).
Ten-year-old Molly Ramien claimed an impressive short-course club record set 42 years ago by Tabitha Andriunas, clipping 2.22 seconds from her personal best to grab a bronze medal in the 10 and under 100m backstroke (1:21:24). She also broke Martha Beattie’s 10 years 50m
backstroke record set in 2000.
Molly competed in eight individual races, achieving six improved times and was a finalist in four other events, just missing a medal with fourth place in the 100m butterfly, where she improved her entry time by 2.56 seconds. She finished sixth in the 50m freestyle (0.82) and seventh in the 200m individual medley with another finalist ribbon in the 100m freestyle (-0.43).
Alexis Whitton moved up an age group at the titles facing new competition in her six events and achieving five personal best times. The emerging young star won a bronze in the 11 years 100m backstroke with a fantastic swim but was disqualified on a technicality in the turn along with the swimmer who won gold. Lexi broke a Gunnedah club record in the 11 years 50m freestyle (30.66), set by Martha Beattie (31.80) on September 15, 2001. Lexi just missed a medal in the 50m backstroke, improving her time by 1.17 seconds as she swam into fourth place and then finished fifth in the 100m freestyle (-0.66).
Josh Spinks competed in six individual races with four personal best times and a top 10 finish  in the 9-10 years 100m fly. Josh broke three Gunnedah short-course club records including the nine years 50m butterfly record held by Jake Bastian since 2010. He also shattered his own 50m breaststroke and 100m butterfly records set last month at the NENW championships. 
Alexander Thompson competed well in the 14 years 50m freestyle, with Hannah Akinyemi  registering a personal best time in the 9-10 years 50m freestyle, along with 10-year-old Matilda Denovan. 
Zach Akinyemi, Josh Spinks, Cooper Whitton and  Jacob Smith teamed up for a great effort in the 12 and under relay where they finished sixth in a tough age group, while Hannah Akinyemi, Molly Ramien, Katie Spinks and Alexis Whitton, competed with pleasing results in the 12 and under girls’ event and backed up for the medley relay, gaining valuable experience at state level.       
 – Kate Ramien

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