Oamaru top in Sth Island


Ten talented kids, one remarkable coach, three New Zealand titles, and a bunch of proud parents and supporters.
You could say the over-achieving Oamaru Swimming Club team came back from the New Zealand junior championships in Auckland with a sense of a job well done.
The Oamaru team made a huge splash at the event, and posted an exhaustive list of rather extraordinary achievements.
Leading the way was Iessha Mansfield, who won three national titles in the girls 12 years grade to signal her arrival as one of New Zealand’s elite young swimmers.
She won the 50m freestyle in 28.62sec, the 100m freestyle in 1min 1.83sec and the 200m freestyle in 2min 14.59sec.
Penny Keeling (girls 12 years) and Elenoa Asi (girls 10 years and under) each grabbed a silver and a bronze.
Keeling was second in the 400m individual medley (5min 37.34sec) and third in the 400m freestyle (4min 50.53sec), and Asi was second in the 100m breaststroke (1min 34.50sec) and third in the 200m breaststroke (3min 24.72sec).
Completing the podium finishes were the Petrie siblings. Samuel claimed silver in the boys 10 years and under 200m freestyle (2min 31.56sec), and Alice won bronze in the girls 12 years and under 200m butterfly (2min 44.38sec).
The other members of the team were Abbey Wilson, Imogen Keeling, Jasmine Emery, Mannix Fraser and Danny Gilbert, all under the guidance of master coach Narcis Gherca.
Nine medals _ and a swag of impressive personal bests, the ultimate gauge of a swimmer’s progress _ were enough to give the Oamaru team a final ranking of eighth in New Zealand.
That made Oamaru the No 1 club in the South Island, an achievement that club president Sonya Macdonald was still struggling to adequately describe this week.
“It’s outstanding. I’m actually not sure I can put it into words.
“They’re an amazing wee group of swimmers and they all stepped up and performed on the national stage. We’re very, very proud of them all.
“To be the top South Island club is pretty cool. Eighth in New Zealand _ we couldn’t have dreamed of that. It’s unbelievable.”Macdonald said Gherca and the team’s supporters and sponsors deserved plenty of credit.
“Narcis has all his wee ducklings running behind him. He’s created a fantastic environment at the pool. The kids are just loving it.
“There’s also some amazing support from the community. We’re lucky to be supported so well.”
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