Elenoa Asi and Rhys Charles led another outstanding performance from the Oamaru Swim Club at the Otago junior championships in Dunedin at the weekend.
Asi stormed to five gold medals, including four personal bests, in the girls 11 years grade, and Charles won five gold medals (all personal bests) in the boys 12 years grade.
Asi’s biggest improvement was in the 200m freestyle – she slashed 3.19sec off her time – while she took 2.38sec off her 200m individual medley best.
The rapidly improving Charles was Oamaru’s top points-scorer at the event. He chopped an astonishing 6.37sec off his 200m backstroke time, and cut 7.40sec off his 400m freestyle time.
In total, Oamaru swimmers claimed 54 medals (21 gold, 15 silver, 18 bronze) and posted 74 personal bests in 107 swims.
Gemma Green (girls 11 years) and Samuel Petrie (boys 11 years) each won three gold medals, Morgan Baillie (boys 10 years) belied his inexperience to claim two, and Imogen Keeling (girls 12 years), Corbin Fraser and Danny Gilbert (both boys 12 years) all claimed one.
Keeling leaped up an age-group as she turned 12 on the first day of the meet, but she looked comfortable against older opposition and won medals in six of her seven races. The talented youngster recently competed at the Auckland championships, winning medals in three breaststroke events and earning top-10 placings in four other events.
Other promising performers at the Otago championships included Deegan Croucher (girls 10 years and under, two bronze), Jorgia McDiarmid-Jones (girls 11 years, three bronze), Molly Whittaker (girls 12 years, two bronze) and Tarona Taafaki (girls 10 years and under, one bronze), a new club member who moved to Oamaru from Australia six weeks ago.
The event was significant for Oamaru swimmers aiming to improve times for the new Junior Festival, which is replacing the New Zealand junior championships.
Twelve Oamaru swimmers have qualified for the Mako (South Island) zone of the festival in February.
Oamaru’s age-group squad (13 and over) is off to the Southland championships in Invercargill this weekend, while January brings the Otago 13 years and over championships and the Canterbury championships.