Youngsters impress with personal bests
■ Swimmers from towns as far north as Broome and south as Geraldton descended on Exmouth at the weekend for the 2015 Sunsmart Gascoyne Open Swimming Championships.
This is the second year the championships have been held since its reincarnation in Carnarvon last year after many years absence.
Organisers were delighted to see competitor numbers soar from 78 swimmers last year to 130 swimmers this year.
A trophy was introduced this year in commemoration of the late Todd Hutton who was originally from Carnarvon, but who moved to Exmouth where his passion and efforts in supporting and inspiring sporting activities for the town’s youth included serving as president of Exmouth Amateur Swimming Club.
The Todd Hutton Memorial Trophy for the most personal best times achieved by a competitor was presented to Exmouth swimmer, 11-year-old Lilly Watts, by Hutton’s cousin and Carnarvon Amateur Swimming Club head coach Michelle Kearney.
Lilly and fellow club swimmer, 15-year-old Abbey Norris, both achieved 10 personal best times, with the award going to Lilly because she improved by the largest margin, lopping off a massive 37 seconds off her 200m individual medley time.
Achievements were high across the field with the early season competition showing impressive results from the young swimmers fresh back from their winter break.
The different towns’ clubs all reported medal success and personal best records across the board, such as Isabella Bennett from Karratha who won eight medals in nine races and her club mate Alyssa Taylor who knocked 13 seconds off her 50m butterfly.
Ethan Isgar, Taylor Walker and Riley Smith from Tom Price all achieved new State records while Jaron Kjellgren from Paraburdoo took home nine gold medals.
Thirty swimmers travelled from Carnarvon for the event with all achieving personal best records and taking a swag of medals home.
EASC president Steve Haines said it was important for regional swimmers to compete in open championships like this one because unlike in team-based competitions, all swimmers have the opportunity to compete which is vital for their development.
“With an open event any competitor can go in as many races as they like, so kids that wouldn’t necessarily be selected for a team still get to swim,” he said.
“If you live in Perth you have a competition like this every weekend, but we only have three in the region.
Haines said he was very happy with how the event had run, but he said this was a competition that should build into the future.
Exmouth’s Lilly Watts won the Todd Hutton Memorial Trophy for the most personal best times at this year’s Gascoyne Open.