Gunnedah swimming juniors had a chance to shine in the recent New England North West carnival at the University of New England pool over the June long weekend. 

The event followed a highly successful development day where swimmers were put through their paces to help develop technique and understanding of the sport and competition. 

The club’s juniors showcased their strength and depth of talent, including a club record broken by eight-year-old Max Smith – youngest brother of swimming sensation, Jacob Smith, who is now training at St Peter’s Western in Brisbane. 

Max swam a blistering time of 39.64 seconds in the 50m butterfly to break Jake Bastian’s club record of 41.98 set in 2010, and shave almost 10 seconds off his personal best time to claim the gold.  He also placed first in the 50m backstroke and freestyle and won bronze in the 100m freestyle.

Brother Liam took home silver in the 100m butterfly where he knocked 21 seconds off his best time and the 200m individual medley, where he improved by 14 seconds. He also won silver in the 50m butterfly, freestyle and breaststroke and 100m freestyle, and bronze in the 50m backstroke. 

Brother and sister pair, Jorja and Lukas Burden, stepped up to the blocks for their first ever carnival. After some dedicated squad training, 10-year-old Jorja swam impressively to bag four bronze medals – 50m freestyle, butterfly, backstroke and 100m freestyle. Brother Lukas just missed the medals finishing fourth in the 50m breaststroke and freestyle and fifth in the 50m backstroke but gained valuable experience.

It was also the first carnival for six-year-old tadpole Aiden Sills who showed great form to place fifth in the 50m freestyle ad 50m backstroke. 

Older brother Cameron showed his competition a clean pair of heels in the 50m butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle, 100m breaststroke and freestyle and the 200m individual medley where he clipped more than seven seconds from his best time. The nine-year-old also won silver in the 50m backstroke and 100m butterfly and bronze in the 100m backstroke. 

Clubmate Banjo Fitzgerald (9) won silver in the 50m butterfly and claimed bronze in the 50m backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke.

Matilda Ramien (8) won three gold medals, powering to the wall in the 50m butterfly, freestyle and backstroke, where she slashed more than 16 seconds from her personal best time, while older sister Molly won five gold medals and a bronze. The 11-year-old also broke her own 50m butterfly short-course record.

Alex Thompson (15) mixed it with the top senior swimmers to win bronze medals in the 50m butterfly and freestyle and 100m freestyle. He finished fourth in the 50m breaststroke with an improvement of  2.26 seconds in his personal best time. 

Brother and sister Hannah and Zach Akinyemi provided some stiff competition, with Hannah placing first in the 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle and second in the 100m breaststroke and butterfly. Zach won gold in the 50m freestyle, silver in the 50m butterfly and backstroke and bronze in the 100m freestyle and backstroke.  

The club’s well-attended annual general meeting saw Aaron Smith returned as president, with Louise Whitton as vice-president. The secretary is Abbie Logan, with Dan Ramien elected treasurer. The registrar is Donna Hickey, with Carly Hobden the club night co-ordinator and Nichole Carlyon the carnival secretary.

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