National medals beckon North team

By Swimming

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Northland swimmers will begin competing in the national age group champs tomorrow.
Northland swimmers will begin competing in the national age group champs tomorrow.

Northland's biggest swim team for many years will tomorrow begin competing in the national Age Group Championships in Wellington with high hopes of bringing home a bunch of medals.

Three swimmers in the 30-strong Northland team are ranked in the top three in their respective events - Callum Prime, Ellie Eastwood, both from Northwave, and Paul Linton from Bream Bay.

Prime, 14, is ranked first in the 200m individual medley and second in the 200m backstroke, but he will also push hard for medals in the 100m backstroke and the 50m backstroke where he is ranked fourth and fifth. He is also ranked eighth in the 100m freestyle.

Eastwood, 13, is ranked third in the 200m breaststroke and fourth in the 50m breaststroke, as well as seventh in the 100m breaststroke, while Linton, 13, has a second ranking in the 50m backstroke and a fifth in the 100m backstroke.

Bream Bay 16-year-old Dylan Sims is also a good chance for a medal with a fifth ranking in the 50m backstroke, while he is also ranked 10th in the 200m backstroke.

Another 16 year old, Matthew Gordon of Northwave, will push hard for medals also in the same backstroke events, with a sixth ranking in the 100m, and ninth in both the 50m and 200m events.

Other Northlanders with top 10 rankings include Whangarei's Courtney Matich who has a seventh ranking in the 200m breaststroke, Bay of Island's Bailey Maihi, who is seventh 50m freestyle, and Jeremy Elliott, who sits 10th in the 200m butterfly.

Bream Bay's Isabelle Paton, eighth in 100m breaststroke, and Ruby-Lee Beckham, eighth in 50m butterfly, also sit inside the top 10. Joining them is Northwave's Josh Young, ninth in the 400m individual medley, Hayley McIntosh, ninth in the 400m freestyle, and Annabell Simpson, ninth in the 100m backstroke. Dargaville's Lathan Hutchinson-Walters sits ninth in the 100m backstroke also.

Other Northland swimmers who have qualified and will be competing in Wellington include David Van der Star, Cheyenne Field, Finn Smith, Madeline Gordon, Madigan Smith and Ciara Smith (all Northwave), David Platt, Emma Wickham, Elijah Purnell and Kieran Swords (Bream Bay), Hayley Donovan, Toby Lengyel, Heiwari Smith and Laura Martin (all Whangarei) and David Clarke and Jake Murray (Bay of Islands).

The championships start tomorrow and conclude on Saturday, with heats scheduled for the mornings and finals at night.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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