Swim squads shine at country titles

The Bendigo East and Bendigo Hawks Aquatic swimming clubs are celebrating after finishing in the top-10 at the Victorian Country Championships at the weekend.

East was fifth overall at Sale, while the Hawks improved dramatically from 24th last year to ninth in 2013.

A total of 29 medals were won by Bendigo swimmers after some brilliant individual and relay performances.

East’s swimmers brought home 14 individual medals and made the podium in four relay events.

Isabella Symons had a superb individual meet, winning gold medals in the 200m medley, 100m backstroke and the 100m butterfly – where she set an event record in the girls’ 13-and-under division. 

Rebecca Holmes won five medals, including gold in the 16-and-17-year-old girls’ 100m butterfly and silver in the open 200m freestyle.

Cameron Jordan blitzed the field in the 11s boys’ 50m breaststroke and Kate Jordan took silver in the girls’ 14-and-15s 100m breaststroke.

Jacob Waller won silver in the 16-and-17s 200m individual medley, to go with his earlier bronze. 

Thomas Hawke picked-up two medals, while Jack Beale won a bronze.

East also won silver medals in the 14s girls’ and 12s boys’ medley relays, plus bronze in the 12 boys’ freestyle and 16 girls’ medley relays.

“We pretty much held our position from last year (fourth), which when you look at the turnover was an excellent result,” East head coach Tony Rodda said.

“From four years ago at Sale we had two swimmers that swam there that swam this weekend, the rest have been new swimmers over the last three years.

“It shows we’re on the right track and things are going pretty good.”

Bendigo Hawks’ swimmers continued to show their development under full-time coach Ash Wain.

Wain had only been in the position for a month before last year’s championships, but guided his team to ninth overall this year.

Ryan Dessens has been arguably the greatest beneficiary of Wain’s coaching. The 19-year-old followed his three personal bests in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke at the state Open titles by winning gold in the three events at Sale.

Olivia Wright swam to gold in the 50m butterfly for 11s girls, while Mitchell Sherlock was fastest in the 50m freestyle and took silver in the 50m butterfly for 11s boys. 

Angus Verbeek claimed three silver medals in the boys’ 13s 100m backstroke and breaststroke, plus the 200m individual medley.

Verbeek also had the honour of winning the AsctaVIC Country Achiever Award, presented to the most improved male swimmer from the past two years.

Bailey Harriden won silver in the 13s boys’ 100m butterfly, while Callum Moloney rounded-out the medal winners with bronze in the 12 boys’ 100m freestyle.

In other excellent results, 15-year-old Lily Burke achieved the national qualifying time in the 100m breaststroke, while Emily Evans was the only 10-year-old to make the 50m butterfly final in the 11-and-under division.

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