Gunnedah has produced two state age medallists in Josh Spinks and Banjo Fitzgerald and returned home with a swag of personal best times and finalist ribbons during an incredible weekend of junior racing at the NSW State Championships at Sydney Olympic Park on the weekend.

Eleven-year-old Spinks shined again after a successful recent NSW Country hit-out, snatching the first medal of the meet for Gunnedah with a bronze in the 400m freestyle and a new club record.

With 13 races on his program over two days, the speedster also stormed home in the 200m Individual medley to clinch his second bronze with a sizzling time of 2:39.84 and knocked three and half seconds off his season’s best.

Also standing on the podium was talented junior Banjo Fitzgerald who put up a great swim to win his first ever state age medal with a silver in the 9 years boys 50m butterfly. Racing against the best in NSW, he clocked a blistering time of 35.55 to touch the wall in second place.

There was also some fast and furious relay action from the Gunnedah junior boys squad who performed outstandingly in a tough field of 20 teams. The 9-10 years medley team of Max Smith, Rafe Denovan, Banjo Fitzgerald and Cameron Sills dropped two seconds off their personal best time to finish an impressive fifth behind Sydney teams Lane Cove, Knox Pymble, Carlile and the Hunter.

Max kicked it off with the backstroke, followed by Rafe in the breaststroke, Banjo in the butterfly while Sills anchored the team home. It was a similar story for the boys freestyle team of Max, Banjo, Cameron and Lewis Mainey who finished a credible sixth to take home another finalist ribbon.

Ribbons also rained down for Spinks who finished inside the top 10 in every one of his 13 races, ending his NSW state age campaign with 11 finalist placings and 12 personal best times. He broke four club records in the 400m freestyle as well as a long-standing 45 year-old record in the 11 years boys 100m butterfly which was held by talented Gunnnedah swimmer Ian Bartlett. Spinks also broke Fred Guest’s 11 years 50m breaststroke record of 39.54 held since 2012 after clocking 39.28 seconds. Spinks’ own 200m breaststroke record fell by four seconds after speeding to a new personal best time of 3:05.91 to finish fifth. Other finalist placings include 4th in the 100m butterfly, 5th in the 200m backstroke, 6th in the 100m freestyle, 7th in 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m and 100m backstroke, 9th in the 50m breaststroke, 10th in the 50m freestyle and 100m breaststroke.

In the 9-years boys, Rafe Denovan showed impressive form to claim a finalist ribbon in sixth place in the 50m breaststroke with a 3.30 second personal best time of 46.24.

Max Smith touched the wall in the top 10 by placing 9th in the 50m butterfly behind Banjo’s silver. There was only one 100th of a second between them both in the 50m backstroke, with Banjo coming in 7th with 40.26 seconds and Max in 40.27 seconds to finish 8th. Banjo also finished 12th in the 100m freestyle, 16th in the 100m breaststroke and collected a finalist ribbon for 8th place in the 50m freestyle while Max swam into 11th place in the freestyle with personal best times. Lewis Mainey (9) was also in the mix after finishing 19th in the 9yrs boys 50m backstroke and 24th in the 50m freestyle.

Ten-year-old Cameron Sills had his first taste of junior state racing, having qualified for six races. He finished inside the top 15 in the 100m breaststroke with 11th place and 12th in the 100m butterfly. Liam Smith (11) gained some more valuable state racing experience in his four 50m races, while Hannah Akinyemi (11) clocked two personal best times in the 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle where she touched in 32.33 seconds.

To order photos from this page click here