MARCHING tall, marching proud - it was the perfect initiation for Emerald Seals' rookies Sam Young and Cooper Hill.
Emerald Seals Swim Club forged the best possible start to its swim season, beating a quality field of Central Highlands clubs to win the Clermont carnival's march past at the weekend.
"Winning the march past was a big confidence booster to our younger swimmers," Seals' president Vicki Edmistone said.
"Many were competing at their first carnival and went on to perform really well during the day."
Young and Hill, both six years old, were the youngest members of the Seals swimming contingent in Clermont.
Despite not winning any medals, the pair did receive participation ribbons for their robust performances.
Seals' club spokeswoman Sue Sands said it was a fantastic honour to win the march past, with the juniors facing stiff competition from rival clubs around the Highlands.
To be deemed the marching best, judges scrutinise the team's spirit, encouragement of one another, presentation and attitude.
"We won in 2009 and that was the first time in a couple of years. Competition is very strong from all around the region," Sue said.
The carnival's overall team award went to Tieri, who won the Belyando Aggregate Cup, and Clermont who won the Belyando Shield.
Seals' swimmers Lilyan Young, Chloe Robertson, Bridget Young and Courtney Dollard were each crowned champions for their age divisions, while Lachlan Sands was named Boys' Open Champion in Clermont.
Sands was also unlucky to miss out on top trumps in the $50 Dash for Cash, placing second in the 50m breaststroke sprint.
Edmistone said it was a promising sign to see strong club numbers turning out again this year for the upcoming summer competition.
This weekend, the swimming competition turns to Springsure for the next leg of the Central Highlands carnival calendar.
The fierce competition will see clubs compete non-stop for five weeks in the run up to Christmas. Three Seals representatives will compete at this weekend's Tropics Carnival in Rockhampton.
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