Gunnedah swimmers were well represented at the NSW Country Regional Swimming Championships over the weekend with Baxter Knapman holding the flag high at Alstonville while a squad of 18 carved up the pool in Dubbo.

A third meet was held at Goulburn on the same weekend.

Almost all of these swimmers attended the recent Gold Coast High Performance Camp and the results speak for themselves – massive personal best times across the board for all swimmers, with a major medal haul, some club records and several youngsters snagged more qualifying times for the upcoming NSW Country Championships. 

Twelve-year-old  Baxter Knapman had an unbelievable meet at Alstonville with huge improvements in his personal best times. 

Out of 14 races, he bagged gold medals in the 400m individual medley, with an improvement of 6.66 seconds, 200m breaststroke, 200m medley (8.51 seconds) and the 200m backstroke, where he clipped 8.38 seconds from his best. Baxter also won silver in the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle with a massive improvement of 22.42 seconds. The rising young star also grabbed silver in the 50m backstroke and a bronze in the 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke events.

Competitors had to register qualifying times to compete at the championships, with the Dubbo meet attracting 400 swimmers over two days, with the sun shining on Saturday and rain most of Sunday. 

Audrey Hannaford (13) really stepped up and had a fantastic meet with massive improvements and seven personal best times. Audrey won gold in her first race of the carnival in the 200m freestyle with an improvement of  5.49 seconds, and silver in the 50m backstroke. She also set personal best times in the 50m freestyle, backstroke and fly, 100m backstroke (3.43 secs), 100m freestyle and 200m medley gaining more qualifying times for the NSW Country titles in February. 

Ten-year-old Josh Spinks had a great meet winning 10 medals overall, with gold in the 50m freestyle, fly and breaststroke and 100m freestyle, butterfly and backstroke, where he improved his entry time by 1.45 seconds. Josh wrapped up a very successful carnival with silver in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley, with four personal best times.

Eleven-year-old Alexis Whitton showed the opposition a clean pair of heels in five events, with gold medals in the 200m freestyle and  breaststroke, where she shaved 6.13 seconds from her best, and added another personal best in the 100m backstroke where she improved by  3.37 seconds. Strong wins in the 100m freestyle and 50m breaststroke added to her success, with silver in the 50m freestyle and backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m medley and bronze in the 200m backstroke. 

Alexis broke the 11 years girls Gunnedah club record for 100m backstroke with a personal best time of 1:19.53 seconds – the previous record of 1:20.45 was set by Brooke Taylor in 2004. She also broke Eden Kleinschafer’s 200m breaststroke record set in 2012 (3:20.37). Alexis recorded 3:17.17. 

Molly Ramien (11) also had a great meet winning 10 medals, with gold in the 50m backstroke and 50m fly, silver in the 200m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and 100m fly, where she slashed 3.09 seconds from her best time. She also grabbed silver in the 200m backstroke and bronze in the 200m breaststroke where she improved her time by 4.12 seconds. Second place in the 100m backstroke and breaststroke and 200m medley closed a very successful meet.

Eleven-year-old Darcy Mainey was a huge improver of the carnival – giving it his best over the two days and
setting some great personal best times in all but one of his eight races. Darcy won a bronze medal in the 200m medley and set personal best times in the 50m freestyle, with an improvement of  4.31 seconds and 50m fly, where he stripped an amazing 7.22 seconds for his entry time. He also improved by 3.18 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, 5.42 seconds in the 50m backstroke and 5.98 seconds in the 100m, with a massive 13.51 seconds clipped from his 100m breaststroke time and 13.84 seconds for the 100m backstroke.

Eugenie Goddard (11) registered four personal best times including a big improvement in the 100m fly (3.91 seconds), 2.09 seconds in the in 100m freestyle 50m freestyle and backstroke. 

Hannah Akinyemi (10) had a great meet with five personal best times. She won six medals overall – silver in the 50m breaststroke (2.47 second improvement), 100m fly (8.92 seconds) and 100m breast, with bronze in the 100m backstroke (4.62), 50m fly and 50m back (4.70).

Brother Zach Akinyemi (13) was close to the medals in some races and clocked up a great six personal best times including the 100m backstroke where he improved by 5.08 seconds to touch the wall at 1:21.76. He also registered improved times in the 50m freestyle, fly and, backstroke, 100m freestyle and 200m medley.  

Clubmate Cooper Whitton (12) recorded six personal best times and won three silver medals in the 100m breaststroke (4.04), 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle (1.99). He narrowly missed the medals in the 50m and 200m freestyle and 50m and 100m breaststroke where he finished a close fourth. 

Alex Thompson (15) had a great meet, with six personal best times, including a 12.96-second improvement in the 400m freestyle. 
Five personal best times from seven races proved very satisfying for Will Jansen (12), as he shaved more than five seconds from his 100m freestyle and 50m fly and just missed a medal in the 50m backstroke.

Tahnee Steele (13), a teenager with a big heart and smile, recorded four improved times in six of her eight events, including a 5.51-second improvement in the 100m fly, where she came home strongly in a tightly contested heat. She also clipped 5.42 seconds from her best in the 100m backstroke.

Katie Spinks  (13) secured three best times in the 50m freestyle, 50m fly and 100m freestyle, while Danika Jones (13) claimed personal best times in the 50m fly and 200m freestyle. Her best placing was in the 400m freestyle. 

In the junior ranks, Camden Many (9), nailed three improved times and four medals including gold in the 50m breaststroke (2.7), silver in the 100m free (3.91) and bronze in the 50m freestyle and 50m fly, while Charlie Mainey (10)  showed huge improvements in six strokes, including an improvement of 6.97 seconds in the 100m backstroke and 3.43 seconds in 50m fly, with younger brother Lewis (8) improving in three races, taking 3.85 seconds off his 100m freestyle. 

 Wyatt Shorter (8) qualified for six races and turned in a great effort. He shaved 6.98 seconds off his 50m backstroke entry time.

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