Swimming: Golden performance from O'Connor

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Greerton's swim team. Back, left to right, Connor Farrell, Lochlainn O'Connor, Cai Jager. Front, left to right, Ella Browne, Mia Pugh, Marijke Hattingh, Ella Moor. Absent Kim Cadzow.
Greerton's swim team. Back, left to right, Connor Farrell, Lochlainn O'Connor, Cai Jager. Front, left to right, Ella Browne, Mia Pugh, Marijke Hattingh, Ella Moor. Absent Kim Cadzow.

The premier event for NZ age group swimmers is the annual long course NZ Age Group Championships held over five days in Wellington.

The Greerton team performance was characterised by new Bay of Plenty records and a large medal haul to Lochlainn O'Connor, 15, and an even bigger number of fourth placings to the rest of the team.

The15-year-old boys' division is extremely competitive and it was a scrap every final to get into medal position. O'Connor began his competition with the 200 medley finishing second in 2:15.20 breaking the BOP record.

Showing his versatility he then raced to fifth in the 400 freestyle before picking up silver No2 in the 50 freestyle.

Next up was the tough 400 medley resulting in silver number three in 4:50.15 after which he finally secured a gold medal in the 100 butterfly swimming sub-60 seconds smashing the BOP record in the process.

The 100 distance was to prove O'Connor's forte for this meet winning gold in the freestyle in 54.63 before wrapping up the meet with two silvers in the 200 butterfly beating Kane Radfords BOP record and the BOP 4x100m medley relay.

Greerton's next best points scorers were Connor Farrell, 13, along with 14-year olds Marijke Hattingh and Kim Cadzow.

Farrell was the "nearly man" of the team, finishing with three excellent fourth placings in the 50m and 100m freestyle finals along with the 100m butterfly, all in significant personal best times. Over the course of seven individual events, he made finals in all of them with a lowest place finish of ninth.

Hattingh's experience was similar after starting the meet slower than she would have liked she sprinted to fourth over the 50m freestyle in 27.92, fourth in the 100m backstroke and swam a stunning lead off leg in the BOP 4x100 freestyle relay team which was anchored by Mia Pugh to finish fourth.

Cadzow was entered in all the backstroke events and made finals in all three finishing with a fourth, fifth and sixth national placings.

Ella Moor, 16, sprinted well to make two finals in the 50 and 100 freestyle while Ella Browne, 15, placed 10th over the 800 freestyle. Mia Pugh, 14, scored a national ranking of seventh in the 400 freestyle and sixth over 800 freestyle to go with her relay fourth.

Cai Jager was unlucky not to final in both the 50 and 100 freestyle with a best effort of 12th in the latter (55.99).

Missing the strength of the Bradley sisters, away at the Australian surf nationals, Greerton finished in 22nd place on the national club ranking with the top BOP results coming from Rotorua (15th), Otumoetai (17th), Mount Maunganui (64th) and Papamoa (70th).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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