Swimming Gunnedah came away with some incredible results at the NSW Country Short Course Championships in Homebush on the weekend, with a medal haul, personal best times and an incredible 18 club records broken, including one of a former world record holder.

Josh Spinks (10) swam brilliantly to lead the medal charge with three gold and three silver medals, while eleven-year-old Molly Ramien came away with two silvers and a bronze and Alexis Whitton (12) collected a silver and a bronze. 

Josh broke the 200m Individual Medley Gunnedah club record in his first race of the championships to claim the gold and take almost five seconds off his personal best time. He added another one to his collection in the 100m breaststroke after powering home in a time of 1:27.11, while his third gold came in the gruelling 100m butterfly in what was one of his best races of the meet. The 10-year-old speedster went stroke for stroke with NuSwim’s Max Liang to touch the wall first in a nail biting finish and break a long-standing 10 years boys Gunnedah record held by Craig Davidson since 1979.

Josh posted a time of 1:16.28 while the record stood at 1:16.82. Josh also bagged three silver medals in the 50m and 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle, and finished as a finalist in the top 10 for the 50m backstroke (7th), 50m breaststroke (8th), 100m individual medley (8th) and 50m butterfly (9th). The handy sprinter broke nine club records overall, including six of his own and two of Jacob Smith’s.

In the 11 years girls, Molly Ramien entered the club record books in the 50m backstroke where she flew to the wall in 34.05 seconds in a dead heat to finish equal second and share the silver medal with school-based Nationals team mate Coco Becker from Coffs Harbour. The long course PSSA gold medallist broke Martha Beattie’s club backstroke record of 34.70 held since 2001. Molly also picked up a silver medal record in the 200m Individual Medley where she stormed home to take more than six seconds off her personal best time. She also won bronze in the 100m backstroke with a personal best time of 1:13.02 and finished in the top 10 as a finalist in the 100m freestyle (5th), 400m freestyle (6th), 100m butterfly (7th), 200m freestyle (10th) and 50m butterfly (7th) where she broke her own club record.

In the 12 years girls, Alexis Whitton was a powerhouse in the 100m freestyle, flying to the wall in a Gunnedah club record time of 1:01.90 to pick up the bronze. The silver PSSA state medallist, who will also attend Nationals in August, broke former Gunnedah swimming star Susan Miller’s 12&U girls short course 100m freestyle record time of 1:02.33 that was set in 1980. Susan shocked the swimming world in 1981 when she shattered the magic minute twice over the 100m freestyle (in long course) at the NSW Age Championships and set a new world record in a time of 58.66. The club record still stands today.

Alexis also flew up the pool in the 50m freestyle to win a silver medal in a tight finish that saw her break her own Gunnedah short course record in a blistering time of 28.20 seconds. She also broke Martha Beattie’s 2001 record of 1:14.66 in the 100m backstroke (1:14.14)  to finish 6th as a finalist, and blitzed her own records in the 200m freestyle (5th), 200m backstroke (5th), 50m backstroke and 200m breaststroke (10th). The talented sprinter came 9th in the 200m Individual Medley.

Matilda Denovan (11) put in a fine performance in the 100m freestyle with a 2.18 best time to place 14th and 19th in the 50m breaststroke, while Hannah Akinyemi (10) showed great form and improvement in the 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke where she slashed 2.81 seconds off her personal best time. 

Coach John Hickey was full of praise for his swimmers, including the girls relay team of Molly, Alexis, Matilda and Eugenie Goddard. After winning gold and the state championship title at the school based PSSA Championships in April, the girls improved on their freestyle time by 3.91 seconds. Molly set the pace first, followed by brilliant individual swims by Eugenie and Matilda while Alexis powered home in 27.38 seconds to finish 4th overall. They also placed 6th in the medley relay.  

Training continues with Hickey continuing his winter program for the upcoming school Nationals and NSW Short Course Championships.

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