The Bendigo Hawks Swim Club stamped itself as a swim club on the rise at the weekend’s Victorian Country Short Course Swimming Championships at the Wangaratta Indoor Aquatic Centre.
A 17-strong Hawks team finished the two-day meet with a total medal haul of five, including two gold by breaststroke specialist Ryan Dessens and three bronze medals by 14-year-old Angus Verbeek.
A lengthy list of top-10 placings and personal best performances from “lower-age” swimmers, eligible to swim in the same age group next year, impressed the BHA coaching group most of all.
A dozen of the Hawks band of swimmers – Lauren Cox, 10; Harliai Curthoys-Davies, 10; Callum Maloney, 12; Mitchell Sherlock, 12; Olivia Wright, 12; Bailey Harriden, 14; Angus Verbeek, 14; Zoe Deed, 16; Lachlan Tyson, 16; and Torsten Lau, 14, competed as “lower-age” swimmers at the championships.
Although only Verbeek returned from the meet with medal in hand, Hawks’ head Coach Ash Wain was left in no doubt that this group will have drawn great confidence for the 2014 championships from having matched it against older swimmers this year.
Incredibly, 82 of the 99 swims by the Hawks’ group were achieved in personal best times.
Sebastian Wood, 11; Emily Evans, 11; and Mitchell Sherlock, 12, led the way with personal best performances in each of their six events.
Lauren Cox, 10, achieved a 100 per cent PB in her five swims.
A highlight was a five-second improvement in the 100m medley.
Olivia Wright, 12, and Bailey Harriden, 14, produced six personal best times.
Joshua Evans, 13, was another to produce a series of performances reflective of the hard work being done by the group in training with personal bests in his four events.
Dessens won his 100m and 200m breast-stroke finals in personal best times on day one at Wangaratta.
The 19-year-old led from start to finish in the 200m, and he fought back brilliantly to win the 100m.
Racing in the 14-15 age group, Angus Verbeek won bronze in the 100m medley and 100m backstroke in personal best times.
Emily Evans, 11, was fourth in the 11-under 100m medley and 50m butterfly.
Hawks’ team-mates in form were Sebastian Wood, 5th in the 11-under 50m backstroke; Bailey Harriden, 5th in the 14-15 years 100m butterfly; Harliai Curthoys-Davies, 6th in 11-under 50m backstroke; Zoe Deed, 14, in the 100m butterfly; Amelia Beaton, an eight-second PB in the 100m butterfly and four-second PB in the 200m freestyle.
Many of the BHA group have qualified to swim at the Victorian State Age Short Course Championships on August 30 to September 1 at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.