Swimmers splash into Singleton

BY ALEX TIGANI

Swimmers from across NSW made their way to Singleton last weekend for the NSW Country Regionals meet.

Singleton Amateur Swimming Club head coach and secretary Melisa Geale declared the weekend as a success.

“We were so pleased that we have been able to hold Country Regional here this year,” she explained.

“We did do it many years ago (2014) and we thoroughly enjoyed what came out of that meet and have been pleased to be able to host it again.

Will Ledingham (Branxton Greta) pictured at the finish line.

“To have our facility on show for the rest of NSW to see made it a special week.”

The two-day event was one of three held across the state (Griffith and Gunnedah also hosted meets).

Yet Singleton’s proved to be one of the most popular in recent years as a total of 496 entrants participated on Saturday before a further 453 took to the lanes on Sunday.

The host club showcased 37 swimmers who combined for 189 entries across the weekend. They brought home 21 medals (seven in each colour).

Lachlan Ryan was one of 37 Singleton swimmers to compete.

Brydie Gray, 12, finished with three gold medals and a bronze while her brother Rory, 14, also finished on top of the podium in the 200m Backstroke final.

They combined for eight medals by Sunday afternoon.

William Ryan, 9, also collected three gold and two silver medals, Kelsey Jenkins, 13, pipped two bronze medals across her 11 events while popular swimmer Billy Moody, 16, collected a silver medal in the 50m Butterfly.

Fellow 16-year-old Alix O’Bryan also finished with a silver medal in the 100m Backstroke final and a bronze in the 200m Individual Medley.

“I was proud to see my club host one of these events,” O’Bryan added.

Singleton duo Billy Moody and Alix O’Bryan both enjoyed competing before their home audience.

“Last year I got the gold in Taree so there was room for improvement but it was still a good weekend.”

Singleton’s Tessa McLeod, 12, also collected a silver and bronze medal while Roy De Somer, 10, claimed a bronze in the 50m Freestyle.

Tessa McLeod finished with two medals across her eight events.

A total of 14 Muswellbrook swimmers combined for 85 entries.

Porscha Jimmieson, 15, collected two gold medals less than a month after finishing first in all her age group categories at the NSW Multi Class Championships in Sydney last month.

Zahli Woolnough, 16, also finished with a silver medal in the 100m Breaststroke and a bronze in the 50m Breaststroke.

Muswellbrook teammates Paul Russell and Zahli Woolnough pictured in Singleton on Sunday. They combined for four medals.

“I haven’t gone as well as I would have liked to, but I did get close to some of my times,” Woolnough said on Sunday afternoon.

“But it was great to see kids from Dubbo, Sydney and Wee Waa come to the Upper Hunter.”

Scone’s Paul Russell was all smiles this week.

The 14-year-old, who represents Muswellbrook, returned from the NSW Country Regionals in Singleton with a gold medal.

He conquered the Men’s 14 100m Butterfly final with a time of 1:09.77 and he also collected a bronze medal in the 50m Backstroke final with a time of 33.42.

“I felt good across my five events,” Russell told The Hunter River Times.

“I’ve been boarding in Sydney so it feels good to be able to come back and represent Muswellbrook.

“I felt I did very good in the 100m fly and 100m free but unfortunately they were no personal bests.”

Four swimmers represented Scone across 22 events.

Will Hejduk, 13, was content to claim a handful of new personal best times across the weekend.

Will Hejduk (Scone) pictured at the back.

The Scone High School student and rugby league junior admitted he was also pleased to swim at such a high level.

Scone swimmers, who train alongside Muswellbrook’s group, welcomed members from Charlestown and Macquarie Shores for training from January 3-7 in the lead up.

The training clearly paid off as Charlestown’s Lincoln Catchpole stormed home with six gold medals.

MEANWHILE four Denman swimmers combined for 17 entries as Lawrence Johnston, 10, celebrated his bronze medal victory in the 50m Breaststroke final.

Branxton Greta also sent seven swimmers to compete.

Will Ledingham stands before his fellow Upper Hunter swimmers.

Though there would be no medals for the club, a passionate Will Ledingham, 10, revealed he also recorded two personal best times.