Young talent in top form
The Nelson Swimming Club held the annual Fab 50s and Top 200s swim meet at Nayland Park on Saturday with fine weather setting the scene for a day of big results for the younger swimmers.
For the first time in its history, the event was held over two sessions to give swimmers the opportunity to swim in more events in the longer 50m pool.
This is the only long-course swim meet held annually in Nelson-Marlborough, with all other events being held in 25m pools.
This meant a great opportunity for swimmers from the region to hone their skills in the 50m pool, which is the same length as the Summer National competitions are held. Junior, age group and open championships are all held in 50m pools.
Fine weather greeted the 76 swimmers for a day of tough competition. Events ranged from the super fast 50m and 100m events through to the gruelling 800m and 1500m freestyle events at the end of the meet.
Competitors came from Hokitika, Golden Bay, Motueka, Blenheim and the local clubs Waimea, Nelson, and Nelson South.
Standout performances came from the younger swimmers, many taking to the 50m pool for the first time. Takaka's Tom Eason-Basset (11) and Elliot Gibbs (14) made huge improvements in their breaststroke and freestyle races. Amelia Abbot (11) and Matai McGuinniety (12) from Nelson South took 13 and 14 seconds respectively off their 200m freestyle times, leading the way for 12 swimmers to set 18 personal best times.
For the Nelson Swimming Club, 15 swimmers improved 24 times with Sam McKenzie (13) continuing his improvement, taking 9sec off his 100m fly, and Cara Pearson (16) taking a staggering 33sec off her 800m freestyle.
Motueka were out in force with eight swimmers setting personal bests. Tate Roberts (13) set three, including an outstanding 27sec improvement in the 200m freestyle. The Waimea club posted 11 personal bests with Libby Malthus (15) and Krystal Hollis (11) each posting three.
The Nelson Club were missing a few of their top junior swimmers who travelled to the Canterbury-West Coast junior championships. They came away with a haul of medals and qualifying times for the national junior championships in February.
Sarah Birkett topped the table with three golds, two silver medals and one New Zealand junior qualifying time. Caitlin Oldridge grabbed two golds and three silvers, Bendi Keepess two bronze medals, Kaleb Johnstone a bronze medal and two junior national times and Tara Hagen won bronze.
The Nelson Mail