Nail-biting relay showcases region’s swimming talent
TALENT from Caribeae Swimming Club delivered a showcase performance at the weekend in what was the region’s first major meet since COVID-19 lockdowns.
The club was among 21 clubs from across Central Queensland to return to the pool at the annual Beef City preparation meet – marking the start of carnival season.
It comes as clubs prepare for both long-course and sprint championships in both December and February next year.
Caribeae Swimming Club president Neal Thomsen said this year’s 263 athletes proved a record attendance compared to last year’s 222 attendees.
“It was a really great turn out, all clubs swam really well, there was also a heap of PBS swum especially by our club. A lot of state times were achieved.”
Mr Thomsen further stated the field of participating swimmers proved just how eager athletes were to return to the pool.
“The last time swimmers in the region swam at an event like this with awards and medals on offer was at the CQ championships back in March before COVID,” he said.
“It’s just a testament to how hard the kids have trained over the COVID-19 period, they had to adapt to new ways of training, mostly alone with a program the coach had text through.”
Star performers included Jack Kelly and Sally Bag who both took out the win in the Top Gun event which pits the eight fastest males and females against each other in a heat-by-heat knockout.
“We got a few clubs that performed really well. From our perspective, Caribeae won a few age city champions as did Rocky City, The Gladstone South club did as well.”
A number of Caribeae swimmers went on further to claim Age Champions across a variety of divisions.
“Our coach contacted me and mentioned that we did get a lot of qualifying times for both those sprint and long-course states too. Our youngest swimmers dominated in the 8-10 year olds,” he said.
“We had a few first time Age Champions who had been working towards it for so long and finally broke through, and quite a few runners up spread right across the field.”
However, it was the final race of the day – 4 x 50m relay – which had spectators on the edge of their seats.
“Our team and the Rocky City team, both our final swimmers pretty much jumped at the same time. It was a cracking final 50m race at the end,” he said.
“I think our swimmer touched the wall first by about less than a second. When they’re all tired bodies it’s a pretty huge effort to come through with that.”
Mr Thomsen said the club would now start preparing for its next meet at Biloela.