They’ve done it again.
The Oamaru Swim Club’s remarkable juniors rule the South Island pool.
For a second straight year, Oamaru topped the overall standings at the Makos junior festival, an extraordinary achievement for a club from such a small town.
It has been a golden period under master coach Narcis Gherca to the point where yet more success almost seems humdrum – but don’t tell that to the 16 outstanding youngsters who led Oamaru to the top of the standings at Dunedin’s Moana Pool last weekend.
Oamaru finished the Makos festival – one of four meetings for swimmers aged 12 and under held concurrently around New Zealand – on a combined 7970 points.
That tally was a whopping 1815 points clear of the second-placed Wharenui club, of Christchurch.
Oamaru always looked likely to do well at the 25-club festival, given it had the largest number of qualified swimmers, but the youngsters still had to deliver in the pool.
And deliver they did.
Oamaru swimmers won 50 individual medals and two relay medals, setting an astonishing 99 personal best times.
Among the leading performers were:
Deegan Croucher (girls 10 years and under) won five gold medals (50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m medley), four silver and a bronze to finish first overall in her grade.
Elenoa Asi (girls 12 years) won three gold medals (50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke), two silver and two bronze to finish third overall.
Samuel Petrie (boys 12 years) won two gold medals (400m freestyle, 400m medley), two silver and three bronze to finish third overall.
Levi Heffernan (boys 11 years) won two gold medals (50m and 200m freestyle) and silver.
Olli McDiarmid-Jones (boys 11 years) won a gold medal (100m butterfly), two silver and two bronze.
Gemma Green (girls 12 years) won a gold medal (200m butterfly) and a silver.
Of those who did not quite manage to win gold, Tarona Taafaki (girls 11 years) won five silver and four bronze medals, Morgan Baillie (boys 11 years) won a silver and two bronze, Hanna Strachan (girls 10 years and under) won a silver and a bronze, and Neighton Fraser (boys 10 years) won two bronze.
Asi also posted a national age group qualifying time, in the 400m freestyle, and both Green (200m freestyle and 200m butterfly) and girls 12 years swimmer Jessie Bayley (200m freestyle) posted division two qualifying times.
Oamaru swimmers who posted significant personal bests included Bayley (27.14sec in 400m freestyle), McDiarmid-Jones (13.79sec in 200m freestyle) and Croucher (9.40sec in 200m medley and 9.00sec in 100m butterfly).