The Deniliquin Swimming Club’s competitive swimmers have had an amazing 2019/20 summer, only to be thwarted by the COVID-19 virus.
Despite a freezing start to the season and delays in opening the pool, plenty of the club’s members had strong performances throughout the season.
The local swimmers did a strong preseason and weight program supported by Fitnow! and Deniliquin RSL, as well as a fortnight of limited training in the river until the pool opened.
President Melissa Westcott said all swimmers should be proud of their efforts this season.
‘‘The children are devastated like many other swimmers who will miss the culmination finale meets of their sport,’’ she said.
‘‘Anyone lucky enough to witness the season end training sessions before the devastating news had to be amazed at their professional approach and brilliant skills.
‘‘They had overcome swimmers from towns with year round indoor training facilities to achieve the finals.
‘‘As a committee it was incredibly hard to tell these young athletes that what they had worked all summer to achieve was not going to happen.’’
Elena Mulham, Isla Ho, Jai Park and Megan Lawson qualified for the Swimming NSW State Age Championships. Unfortunately Jai and Megan’s events have been postponed.
Elena made a final of the Victorian Sprints Championship and Isla Ho just missed the butterfly final.
Jai, Megan and Kate Westcott also qualified for Victorian Sprint Championships but were unable to attend.
A total of 14 Deniliquin swimmers had qualified for the now cancelled Victorian All Junior Finals at the Melbourne Swimming Aquatic Centre.
The finalists who will now not have an opportunity to show their skills are Lilly Boyer, Lexi and Macy Butcher, Jake and Zoe Harvey, Isla Ho, Lara and Zarly Horne, Megan Lawson, Elena Mulham, Jai Park, Ari Strongman and Lucas and Oscar Thompson.
Nine of the active squad members made Combined High School, Catholic School and Primary Schools Sports Association state finals in Sydney only to have the events cancelled or postponed to a date when they will not have been in water for several months.
Ari Strongman, Emily Harvey, Macy Butcher and Phoebe Newman all won the right to attend the Polding Catholic Schools’ finals competing against quality swimmers at the eliminations in Condobolin.
Macy is a developing medley swimmer and Phoebe is starting to show quality breaststroke times for her age.
Megan Lawson and Jai Park won their way to the PSSA at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre finals with swims that threatened the existing club records set by the best swimmers the club has produced in the 10 year old age group.
Megan is closing in on Mandy Shuttle and Elena Mulham’s records while Jai is within inches of Michael Edwards’ butterfly record.
Had the finals and All Juniors not been cancelled the club’s records would have had quite a few changes.
Isla Ho, Kate Westcott and Elena Mulham let everyone at CHS Regionals in Leeton know that the Deniliquin club swimmers were there to compete, taking out first and second placings in the first three 200m events.
They made the finals in multiple events from 50m to 400m where Kate Westcott qualified at the required standard.
Elena had defeated every female swimmer in the Southern Inland NSW region over 50m in freestyle and is the first female club swimmer to swim under 28 seconds for the event.
Elena was equal fourth at the Victorian State titles in January.
Also at CHS Regionals, Isla Ho recorded a 100m butterfly time that was five seconds inside the current club record for a 12 year-old.
The annual James Brophy Inter-district Sprint Meet at the AIS has also been cancelled with Elena, Isla, Megan and Kate being selected.