Team strike gold in capital


Masterton swimmers turned on impressive performances at last weekend's Wellington long course championships, winning nine gold, five silver and 10 bronze medals, and breaking five Wairarapa long course records.

The team's gold medal tally was seven more than for the same event last year and the 24-strong contingent clocked 129 personal best times at the three-day meet, the highlight of the Wellington regional swimming calendar which attracted clubs from throughout New Zealand.

Their haul of medals and top 10 placings saw the Masterton under-12 age group place third overall out of 33 clubs, behind the two largest Wellington clubs.

Standout performances came in the highly competitive girls' age groups from Eternal Thompson (9), Kate Sims (11), and Emma Samuel (13).

Eternal Thompson was the overall winner of her age group, taking gold in the 50m and 100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke. She broke the Wairarapa under-10 girls 100m breaststroke record in claiming gold.

Thompson also picked up silver medals in the 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle and broke her Wairarapa record in the 100m butterfly where she placed third. She set the Wairarapa record in the 200m freestyle, the first time that event's standard time has been met.

Kate Sims won gold medals in the 11-year girls' 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly events and in the 400m individual medley, all in personal best times. She took silver in the 400m freestyle and was the overall runner-up for her age group.

Emma Samuel won gold in the 50m backstroke in 32.17s, smashing the Wairarapa under- 14 girls record by 2s. She carved 1.5s off the 100m backstroke record which has stood since 2002, winning bronze in that event.

Noemi Leinfellner (11) won silver in the 200m individual medley and 100m freestyle and bronze in the 400m freestyle and 100m breaststroke, all in personal best times. Ben Ruback (17), Mitchell Cockburn (12) and Oliver Donaldson (11) each won two bronze medals.

Masterton head coach Anna Kitching said: "The meet was a valuable learning experience because it simulated national meets with heats and finals for all age groups.

"It's great to see some remarkable younger talent coming through now at a time when our most senior member, Ben Ruback, is moving on to university and to train with Wellington's Capital club," Kitching said.

Masterton team members also achieved numerous national qualifying times over the long weekend.

The club will field teams at the New Zealand junior and age group championships, both to be held in February.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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