Stuart Whitaker is a sports reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times and a general reporter for the Bay News.

Otumoetai gain bragging rights

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Otumoetai swimmers L to R: Ella Hoskin, Ruby Matthews, Matthew Wagstaff, Tristan Eiselen, George Culling and Daniel Shanahan.
Otumoetai swimmers L to R: Ella Hoskin, Ruby Matthews, Matthew Wagstaff, Tristan Eiselen, George Culling and Daniel Shanahan.


Otumoetai Swimming club claimed Bay of Plenty bragging rights at the 2016 New Zealand Short Course championships, but it was a Greerton club swimmer who was one of the individual stars.

With just six swimmers at the meet, Otumoetai amassed 1574 points to Greerton's 1449.

Greerton's Lochlainn O'Connor (15), fresh from his first time representing New Zealand at the Australian Championships the week prior, arrived in Auckland in peak fitness and won three New Zealand titles and a further three silver medals.

Gold in the 200m freestyle came with a Bay record of 1:54.97, removing 2016 Rio Olympian Kane Radford from the record book.

O'Connor backed up that with a silver in the 400m medley.

Two Bay records and fourth places followed in the 200m and 100m medleys.

In the 50m freestyle a Bay record of 24.76 was only good enough for sixth, but the fireworks were still to come as O'Connor swam a personal best in the 400m freestyle, winning silver in 4:03.34.

On day four, O'Connor went on the win gold in the 100m butterfly, carving two seconds of his own Bay record, and slightly improving on his pending record swum the week prior in Canberra.

Finally there were two more Bay records in the 100m freestyle followed by a 2:05.89 200m butterfly gold wrapping up a very successful meet.

The championship differs from others in that athletes race in the morning for age group placings, and then only the fastest 10 advance to A open finals.

Otumoetai had their own star in Ruby Matthews (17), racing in the 17/18yr age group came away with a haul of eight medals, including gold in the 400 individual medley age group.

She went onto the Open A Final and had an incredible swim to secure a sliver medal, at the same time setting a new Bay record with a time of 4:50.49, taking three seconds off her morning swim.

This was the first opens medal for the club since 2004, the last swimmer being Moss Burmester.

Matthews continued in her national age group swims, with a gold in the 200m individual medley, silver in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and bronze medals for 50m breaststroke, 100m individual medley and 200m butterfly, setting four new Bay records.

In the short course swimming season, she has broken over 21 Bay of Plenty records, including her own many times over.

She is now training for the Queensland State Age Group Championship, held in Brisbane in December.

Daniel Shanahan (13) swam strongly in the men's 13yr age group, to come away with four gold medals, one silver and two bronze with Ella Hoskin (13) and Tristan Eiselen (14) taking the clubs other medals, Hoskin taking gold with a personal best in the 800m freestyle and Eiselen winning silver in the 50m and 100m butterfly.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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