Masterton Swimming Club's team of six was rewarded with two silver medals, nine top 10 national placings, 18 top 10 regional placings and 18 personal best times when they competed against the country's best at the State New Zealand junior swimming championships in Wellington last weekend.
Staged simultaneously at two regional venues, the 12yrs and under event attracted 600 entries from 92 clubs. Swimmers south of Taupo, including the South Island, competed at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, with the northern region competing in Auckland.
Kate Sims, 11, produced an outstanding swim in the opening session of the meet, taking the silver medal in the girls 100m butterfly in a personal best time of 1min 14.25s - breaking a 13-year-old Wairarapa long course record. She followed up with a second silver in the 50m butterfly, clocking 32.61s, and also finished sixth nationally in the 12yrs and under 200m butterfly and seventh in the 200m freestyle, both in personal best times.
Noemi Leinfellner, 11, took four top 10 national placings - seventh in the 100m freestyle and the 200m individual medley, eighth in the 200m freestyle and 10th in the 200m backstroke.
She finished in the top 10 regionally in all of her seven events.
Mitchell Cockburn, 12, finished 10th overall in the 100m freestyle, swimming four personal best times and gaining three top 10 regional placings. He swam an impressive 400m freestyle race, taking 5s off his previous best time, putting him 10th in the region.
Competing in her first national championship, Eternal Thompson, 9, picked up three top 10 regional placings despite swimming above her age in the 10yrs and under girls category. Oliver Donaldson, 11, swam personal best times in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, taking fifth place in the central/southern region in the 50m freestyle and 12th overall.
Making the step up to his first national meet, Mika Tobias, 10, competed in the 50m butterfly, where he finished 12th regionally, and the 100m freestyle.
Masterton Swimming Club finished 29th overall of 92 clubs, ahead of many much larger metropolitan clubs.
"This event was a huge opportunity for our younger members to step up and show how it's done at the top level," said Masterton Swimming Club head coach Anna Kitching. "The results were fantastic - from the medals right through to the experience gained by our two newcomers to the national scene. The swimmers came together as a team and supported each other well which showed in their results."
Masterton Swimming Club will field a team of five swimmers aged 13 to 17 at the New Zealand age group championships to be held in Wellington next week.