A contingent of 20 St Peter’s Swim Club members traveled to Auckland last month for the National Age Group Swimming Championships held April 17 – 21, coming away with a stack of medals and titles to show for their efforts, including an overall placing of 5th among the 75 competing clubs – their highest-ever placing at nationals.
“They worked really hard, we had some pretty impressive training efforts in the build up to it,” said the squad’s head coach, Aly Fitch.
“Last year we were 28th, and this year we’re 5th, so that’s really big, and the bonus is that we did it as a group as well… we just had so many kids that made finals or made top five rankings. It was very cool.”
Amelia Glover was the other single gold-getter on the team, finishing first in the 13-year-old girls’ 50m backstroke.
“I was really proud that my work finally paid off,” said Amelia, who is better known as Minnie. “It was my first experience at Nationals… it was a really fun time to be with everyone (on the squad).”
Many of the young swimmers said best part of the competition was the comradery amongst their team. “It was just a great experience… the team atmosphere and the whole idea of being at nationals and representing your club,” said Holly Isaac, who earned silver in the 15-year-old girls’ 50m backstroke.
Rylee Britton also brought home a silver medal from the 14-year-old girls’ 200m breaststroke final. “My competition was quite difficult, but then touching that time pad and looking up and seeing my name second on the board made me really happy, because I could hear my crew shouting for me.”
William Crofskey managed to overcome injury to compete in the event, having burned his thigh when the radiator overflow tank burst on the motorbike he was riding just two weeks before the event. He spent the build-up to the competition working on his arm strength, “and on mental strength,” he laughed. “I wasn’t expecting much.” But despite the national competition being only the second time he’d hopped back into the pool since the injury, William still managed to earn bronze in the 15-year-old boys’ 50m breaststroke. “It was probably a good learning experience,” he said, “learning how to cope when things going wrong before a big meet.”
The team’s other bronze medal winner was Kaitlyn Heaslip, who finished third in the 13-year-old girls’ 50m butterfly final. “I was pretty stoked just to get a medal,” she said. “I got quite a few PBs (personal best times) as well, so I was quite happy with my meet overall.”
Tyler Tapper also earned gold at the event as part of the regional relay team, finishing first in the boys 15 years and under 800m freestyle race. “I wasn’t expecting it to be honest,” he said.
Vanessa Ouwehand – who earned a gold medal in the 18-year-old girls’ 50m butterfly final, and silver in the 18-year-old girls’ 200m butterfly – was absent when we caught up with the swimmers.
A team of 25 St Peter’s Club swimmers will head to South Australia in July to compete in the South Australian Winter State Championships.