Young­sters im­press with per­sonal bests

Pilbara News - - Sport - Bran­wen Smith

■ 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.

Pic­ture: Bran­wen Smith

Ex­mouth’s Lilly Watts won the Todd Hut­ton Me­mo­rial Tro­phy for the most per­sonal best times at this year’s Gas­coyne Open.

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