Veteran coach has plenty to toast

By SHANE HURNDELL


Greendale Swimming Club coach Noel Hardgrave-Booth had plenty to celebrate after the Hawke's Bay Poverty Bay Winter Championships ended in Flaxmere yesterday.

Hardgrave-Booth, 68, who has been coaching for 48 years, 21 of those at Greendale, was one of three coaches to be awarded life membership of the centre.

The Gisborne pair of Gary Martin and Greg Meade were the others.

Three of Hardgrave-Booth's swimmers, Bobbi Gichard, 11, and the 15-year-old pair of JoMari Meyer and Jonathan Burfield-Mills, won age group titles.

A St John's College Year 11 student, Burfield-Mills, won all 10 of the events he entered to capture his third title at these championships.

"Everything went as expected," Burfield-Mills said.

A competitive swimmer for the past five years, Burfield-Mills, has completed almost three years with the Greendale club after securing a Scott Clinic Scholarship which covers the costs of his membership fees, entry fees and trips.

His long-term goal is the 2016 Olympics.

"If I get there I hope I will be competing in my favourite event," he said, referring to the 100m butterfly.

His short-term goal is a national title.

"I'm in a tough age group but hopefully I'll get one before too long," said Burfield-Mills who has eight training sessions a week and on average covers 5km in each.

Hawke's Bay's multiple national titleholder Naomi Smit of the Heretaunga Sundevils Club won the 14 years girls age group title as well as the centre's junior swimmer of the year award.

Laura Quilter of Gisborne's Comet club won the senior swimmer of the year award.

At the weekend's champs the Napier Aquahawks club won the top team award in the 13 years and under section from Greendale, and Gisborne's Enterprise and Comet clubs were first and second respectively in the 14 years and over team section.

Other Bay swimmers to win age group titles were the Napier Aquahawks quartet Kaitlin Cotter (9 years and under girls), Brad Roberts (9 years and under boys), Tamara Lambert (13 years girls) and Bertie Bassett-Foss (13 years boys), Central Hawke's Bay's Kendall Reidy (16 years and over girls) and the Sundevils pair of Kenah Abraham-Smith (10 years girls) and Elzivor Brown (11 years boys).

Centre president Keith Bone was rapt with the success of the champs and in particular the awarding of life membership to the three coaches.

"Between them they have been coaching for 119 years.

They have all coached national representatives, national titleholders and national record holders and to have three of them in one centre is outstanding." He was also thrilled with how the centre's new electronic touch pads functioned at their first meet.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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