The success and achievements of Swimming Gunnedah have been celebrated at the club’s annual presentation awards.

The event, held at the Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club on Friday night, recognised local swimmers throughout the 2023/2024 season at carnivals, club nights and at a representative level, as well as sportsmanship, effort and encouragement.

Club president Louise Whitton emceed the event and thanked life members, head coach John Hickey, current club committee and sub-committee members, volunteers, sponsors and parents and kids for their dedication and commitment.

She praised the club for its huge success over the past 12 months following stellar results on a local, state and national level and congratulated the swimmers on their success.

“From diving off the blocks for your very first time, swimming your first 50m, doing a cracking personal best time or the medal podium at Nationals, nothing worth doing is easy,” Louise said.

“You are to be congratulated on being brave, pushing yourself to your next level, being a great teammate and always striving to do better.”

Louise commended past and present committee members for their countless volunteer hours behind the scenes and the rewards achieved in supporting the club and coach.

She also paid tribute to coach Hickey on another very successful season.

“The results of Swimming Gunnedah have continued to grow and have been nothing short of impressive. Surrounding clubs, the state and nation have watched our kids perform incredibly well,” Louise said.

“Every carnival there are records broken, of already very fast times.

“Thanks for your countless hours on the road supporting our kids all around the countryside to do what they love, teaching our kids to manage success and failure and to get back up from a disqualification and race again. The

importance of cheering your mate on, even when they are your direct competition.

“You have shown our kids that consistency and hard work pays off,” she said.

This year marked the introduction of a special new award in memory of well-respected former Gunnedah swimming coach, mentor and life member Glen Hobson, who passed away in June last year.

Wife Marie and club treasurer Dan Ramien presented the Hobson Family Award which, in the spirit of Glen, was presented to a swimmer for “never giving up.” This year, it went to junior swimmer Lewis Mainey.

Awards were also handed out to nine swimmers who broke club, area and pool records as well as 48 swimmers who hit benchmark times as part of the Australian Junior Excellence Program (JX).

Other awards included: Junior outstanding achievement awards: Banjo Fitzgerald (junior), Josh Spinks (intermediate) and Alexis Whitton (senior). Age champions: 6/7 years: Reggie Stewart. 7/8yrs: Jimmy Fitzgerald and Matilda Ramien. Runner-up: Madelyn Whitton and Myles Young. 9/10yrs: Banjo Fitzgerald. Runner-up: Cameron Sills. 11/12yrs: Josh Spinks and Alexis Whitton. Runner-up: Liam Smith and Matilda Denovan. 13/14yrs: Audrey Hannaford and Zach Akinyemi. Runner-up: Will Jansen and Tahnee Steele. Open age champion: Audrey Hannaford and Josh Spinks. Runner-up: Alexis Whitton.

Coach’s awards: Squad training: Jake Hausfeld, Eileen Carter Encouragement Award: Jimmy Fitzgerald, Apex Encouragement Award: Fletcher Many and Pippa Wark, Steve and Cathy Smith Award for 100 per cent Effort: Josh Spinks and Alexis Whitton, Mikie Maas “In the Spirit of the Games” Award: Kaylee Allen, Lyn Miller Sportsmanship Award: Darcy Mainey, Achievement Award: Evan Hausfeld, James and Jenny Meyers, High Achievers Award: Molly Ramien.

Club Night’s Most Improved: Butterfly: Josh Spinks and Pippa Wark. Runner-up: Cooper Whitton and Eugenie Goddard. Backstroke: Josh Spinks, Pippa Wark and Emily Hobden. Runner-up: Lewis Mainey, Zach Akinyemi, Audrey Hannaford and Matilda Denovan. Breaststroke: Banjo Fitzgerald and Pippa Wark. Runner-up: Max Smith, Josh Spinks and Hannah Akinyemi. Freestyle: Josh Spinks and Alexis Whitton. Runner-up: Hannah Akinyemi, Matilda Denovan and Eugenie Goddard. Individual medley: Lewis Mainey and Hannah Akinyemi. Runner-up: Banjo Fitzgerald and Tahnee Steele.

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