The winter short-course swimming season is now well underway after an extremely busy summer and Gunnedah swimmers are already proving their prowess in the 25m pools, with good results from meets in Sydney, Newcastle, Orange and Tamworth over the past couple of weekends. 

Swimmers are keen to secure short-course qualifying times for NSW Country and State Championships at Homebush later this year.

Club short-course records are already tumbling, with 10-year-old Josh Spinks shattering a long-standing record set in the 10 years boys 100m breaststroke, on July 21, 1974. Josh touched the wall at 1:32.09 eclipsing the previous time of 1:34.10. 

The carnival at Newcastle proved a happy hunting ground for the youngster who also picked up gold in the 50m breaststroke and 100m butterfly and silver in the 50m butterfly, 50m and 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle. 

Molly Ramien blitzed the 11 years events at the Novocastrian carnival, picking up gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke events and bronze in the open 200m backstroke. 

She also won gold in the 50m butterfly, where she broke the 11 years girls club record with a time of 34.47, stripping 2.56 seconds from the bar set by Emma Donaldson in 2007 (37.13).

Baxter Knapman (13) was also in fine form, picking up silver in the 50m and 100m backstroke events, while Matilda Ramien was the fifth eight-year-old to touch the wall in the 100m Individual medley.  

Down the road in Sydney, Alexis Whitton had a successful carnival after breaking five club records at the short-course qualifying meet at Homebush. In the 200m freestyle, she stopped the clock at 2:24.16 to break Sherilyn Thompson’s 1996 record of 2:37.05. Lexi also broke Emma Donaldson’s 2008 record of 30.56 in the 50m freestyle touching the wall in an impressive 29.13 seconds. She also claimed the 12 and under 200m breaststroke record set by Hannah Stove in 1998. The 12 and under 50m and 200m backstroke records also fell. 

A week later, Lexi was back in the competition pool competing at the Orange winter short-course carnival, where she rewrote her own 200m freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke records after shaving time off her personal best. Brother Cooper also competed improving his 50m breaststroke time by 2.31 seconds as well as clipping eight seconds off his 100m fly time and seven seconds from his 200m backstroke time. 

Youngest sister Madelyn Whitton showed off her improvement, winning a bronze medal in the 25m breaststroke, improving her personal best time by 10 seconds. She also won bronze in the 25m freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events.  

A squad of six swimmers held the flag high at the 360 Fitness Club interclub meet in Tamworth on Sunday, with Alex Thompson (15) bagging silver in the 400m, 200m and 100m freestyle, bronze in 50m freestyle and 100m medley.

Baxter Knapman (13) picked up three bronze medals with determined swims in the in 400m and 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke. 

Thirteen-year-old Will Jansen won bronze in the 200m medley with an improvement of 7.44 seconds.

Club newcomer Banjo Fitzgerald (9) shaved more than 11 seconds from his 50m freestyle time, while Hannah Akinyemi (10) and brother Zach (13) both took on the gruelling 400m freestyle where Zach touched the wall with a huge improvement of 40.46 seconds to place seventh, while Hannah finished eighth in a strong field of regional competitors. 

Club members gathered recently to farewell a popular club member Jule Huhn who has returned home after completing a student exchange at St Mary’s College, where she represented the school in swimming and was elected to the student leadership team also facilitating learning in the college language group. 

Jule competed with success on the local carnival circuit during the summer and will be missed in the training lanes.

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