Gunnedah swimmers are proving they are among the best in the state after bringing home a medal haul, finalist ribbons and shattering more club records at the NSW Junior State Short Course Championships in Sydney recently.

After a three-year-absence, six local swimmers went up against the state’s best at Sydney Olympic Park with 11-year-old Jacob Smith smashing it in the pool to win an impressive seven state medals from 12 races. The youngster snatched silver in the 50m butterfly, freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke, and bronze in the 100m freestyle, butterfly and 200m backstroke. He also picked up top 10 finishes in the 200 individual medley, 100m breaststroke and 100m backstroke (4th), 200m breaststroke (9th) and 200m freestyle (5th).

The highly talented junior, who has just returned home from the state School Sport Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane with four medals, broke six of his own Gunnedah club records. He also posted five personal best times which included an amazing swim in the 50m freestyle where he stopped the clock at 27.80.

Emerging young swimmer Molly Ramien (10) put in an impressive performance in six individual races to finish sixth in the state for both the 50m and 100 backstroke – where she improved her time by 4.59 seconds. She also placed 10th in the 100m freestyle. A NSW Short Course Country medallist, Molly broke three of her own Gunnedah club records in the two backstroke races and the 50m butterfly and posted five personal best times.

Eleven-year-old rising talent Alexis Whitton also proved she can compete among the best in the state, coming home strong in the 50m backstroke to finish an impressive sixth overall with a personal best time in a tightly contested race. Alexis, a state and country medallist, also qualified for the 50m and 100m freestyle, where she produced a strong swim and a 0.28 second improvement. 

Ten-year-old speedster Josh Spinks showed off his talent with a superb butterfly swim, finishing ninth in 
the state with a 0.61 second improvement on his best time. He was 
also part of the 10-13 years boys relay team that included Jacob Smith, Zach Akinyemi and Cooper Whitton who both made a special trip to Sydney for two relay events and did the club proud.

The boys put in a strong effort in the 4x50m medley event, as well as the freestyle relay where they produced some impressive changeovers and strong swim legs to secure a 1.95 second best time.  

Swimming Gunnedah coach John Hickey congratulated the swimmers and said to even qualify for the state championships is a huge achievement.

“People don’t realise how difficult it is to get to this level. To have this standard of swimming is fantastic and shows just where the club is at the moment,” he said. 

“We are going through a golden time right now with our swimmers and swimming, and we need to recognise it and enjoy it. It’s great to pick up medals as well and to see Jacob win seven medals is an acknowledgement of his results and a reflection of how hard he trains.”  

– Kate Ramien 

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