Gunnedah swimmers made a record-breaking impact at the recent New England North West short-course area championships in Armidale.

The club entered the history books after 14 individual area records were broken by Cameron Sills, Alexis Whitton, Molly Ramien and Josh Spinks, as well as freestyle and medley relay records.

Nine-year-old Cameron Sills was one of the standout swimmers of the two-day meet, powering his way to five new area records in the 10 and under 100m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle. The rapidly improving youngster also broke his own club records in the 200m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and the medley, and broke the nine years 100m breaststroke club record held by Josh Spinks. Cameron picked up a haul of 10 gold medals overall and clocked seven personal best times.

Alexis Whitton, who has just returned from school Nationals with a trio of silver medals, eclipsed the area records in the 50m and 100m freestyle and the 50 backstroke, where she flew to the wall in a sizzling time of 33.21 and broke her own club record. The 12-year-old shattered the area record in the 50m freestyle by more than two seconds with an impressive time of 28.58, and picked up seven gold medals.

Nationals club mate Molly Ramien also re-wrote the history books after breaking three existing area records in the 11 years girls 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle and the 200m individual medley, where she hit the wall in a cracking time of 2.40.94 and crumbled the record by more than three seconds. Molly, who picked up two gold and a silver at Nationals, collected nine gold over the weekend and broke her own club records in the 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly.

Eleven-year-old Josh Spinks joined the list of record breakers in the 200m individual medley and 50m and 100m breaststroke with new area records. The short-course NSW Country champion won eight gold, three silver and a bronze. He also improved on his recent short-course Country record time in the 100m individual medley with a blistering time of 1:18.26 and snatched a new club record held by Jacob Smith (1:18.37).

Gunnedah dominated in the 13 years age group with Audrey Hannaford taking home 10 gold, one silver and a bronze. She broke two long-standing Gunnedah club records in the 50m backstroke (33.64) held by Christine Boehm since 1997 (33.87) and the 50m butterfly (32.48) set by Emma Donaldson in 2009 (32.94). Audrey also claimed Tahlia Smith’s 100m breaststroke record and her own 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle records fell.

Baxter Knapman blitzed his competition in the 13 years boys division and came away with nine gold, six silver and a bronze. He nailed 12 personal best times in a jam-packed program that included the 200, 400m and gruelling 800m freestyle where he shaved 36 seconds off his entry time.

“Any time they are breaking a record, it’s a really special thing,” coach John Hickey said. “I’m proud of every swimmer. I’m proud of the juniors starting out and I’m extremely proud of my seniors who are now starting to dominate throughout the New England and North West.”

Other medal winners include Hannah Akinyemi who won eight gold and two silver and narrowly missed out on two area records, while brother Zach won two relay gold and a bronze. Eugenie Goddard won gold in the 100m butterfly and freestyle relay, silvers in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 50m butterfly, while Kaylee Allen picked up a bronze in 50m backstroke and Jorja Burden a silver in 100m butterfly and freestyle relay. Lukas Burden won silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 50m backstroke and breaststroke, while Cooper Cannon scored a bronze in the 50m breaststroke and silver in the 50m freestyle.

Matilda Denovan won gold in the 200m individual medley and a medley relay and bronze in 100m freestyle, with Rafe Denovan cracking a silver in the 100m freestyle and medley relay gold. Matilda Ramien claimed gold in the 50m backstroke, butterfly and freestyle and also the medley and freestyle relays, with Katie Spinks winning silver in the 100m freestyle and gold in the medley and freestyle relays.

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