Swimmers off to state champs
COUNTLESS early mornings, endless hours in the pool, lap after lap.
For a select group of Grafton swimmers it all comes down to next week. For 12 Grafton Swim Academy students success at school, district, zone and finally regional level means they will compete against the best in the state. The likes of Grafton High School Year-9 student Charlie Steele will compete at the NSW Combined High Schools Swimming Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre this Monday and Tuesday.
Charlie qualified for two events in the 15-years boys at the recent North Coast CHS Trials in Lismore. He finished third in the 100m freestyle in 1:01 while his 1:07 effort for third in the 100m butterfly smashed his personal-best by three seconds.
The trip to Sydney will be just reward for his dedication in the pool and his story is a perfect example of why swimming is a sport of millimetres and one per centers.
Twelve months ago Charlie came agonisingly close to qualifying, missing out by just one hundredth of a second. This time he made it by the same margin - one hundredth of a second.
The 14-year-old is in exceptional form and recently broke a long-standing record at the Grafton pool.
Year-7 student Alanis O'Mahony also qualified for NSW CHS from Grafton High, getting through in the 12-year girls 200m freestyle while Daniel Moar will represent the school in AWD events.
But it is South Grafton High which will have the biggest representation next week, courtesy of its boys relay team of Caleb Barker, Lachlan Rudder, Lex Bagster and Scott Rose.
The North Coast Primary School Sports Association Trials were also held recently at Lismore with several Grafton Swim Academy students excelling.
Grafton Public School's Jordan Gallagher was strongly tipped to perform well after he was age champion at the same level in 2013.
Jordan qualified, but not in the event his coaches may have predicted. He will swim in 50m backstroke - not his stroke of choice - at the NSW PSSA Swimming Championships, also at SOPAC, this coming Wednesday and Thursday.
"Jordan is a very dedicated swimmer," coach Jo Clare said.
"He always gives 100 per cent to training, wants to do well and strives to do well.
"We love having him in the group."
Meanwhile, Jake Pitkin will compete at NSW Combined Catholic College after the McAuley Catholic College student qualified from the recent North Coast CCC Trials held at Banora Point.
Clarence Valley Anglican School will be represented at NSW Combined Independent Schools by the trio of Yasmin Bruggy, Norah Hegedus and Emma Henderson following their efforts at North Coast CIS at Lismore.
Grafton Swim Academy has experienced all-time high numbers of swimmers regularly turning up to Grafton Olympic Pool for training under the likes of Jo Clare, David Moon, Jennifer Thompson and head coach Al Patterson this summer, with more than 50 represented at zone level this year.
- Charlie Steele, Alanis O'Mahony, Hamish Moar (Grafton High)
- Jordan Gallagher, Jamarlie Weatherall (Grafton Public)
- Yasmin Bruggy, Norah Hegedus, Emma Henderson (CVAS)
- Jake Pitkin (McAuley)
- Caleb Barker, Lachlan Rudder, Lex Bagster, Scott Rose (Sth Grafton High)