Rep team reap reward


Five top 10 national placings, personal best times and Wairarapa records, yet to be ratified, were among the results for a team of five Masterton swimmers aged 13 to 17 years who competed against the country's best at the New Zealand age group swimming championships in Wellington last week.

Highlights for Masterton were performances by Emma Samuel, 13, and Ben Ruback, 17.

Samuel stood out in the highly competitive 13yrs girls' age group, achieving three top 10 national placings in her five events.

She finished fifth in the 50m backstroke in a time of 31.76, breaking her Wairarapa record. She broke another Wairarapa record in the 100m backstroke heat and went faster in the final to break it again, finishing seventh in a time 1:09.64.

Samuel was rewarded with a third top 10 placing in the 50m freestyle where she finished sixth in a personal best of 29.45s, improving her national ranking from 10th.

Swimming in the Masterton cap for the last time before his move to Wellington, club captain Ruback finished eighth in the 1500m freestyle in a time of 17.15.40, almost 8s faster than his previous best time and qualifying him for this year's NZ open champs.

Ruback also finished 10th in the 200m butterfly final after swimming a personal best time in the heat. He also swam a personal best in the 400m freestyle.

Sven Tobias, 15, improved his national rankings in two of his four events - placing 18th in the 50m butterfly, up from his entry ranking of 26th. He finished 17th in the 200m breaststroke improving his national ranking by three places.

Stepping up for the first time to the top level of New Zealand age group swimming, Logan Allen, 13, swam strongly in the 50m and 100m freestyle events, gaining valuable experience for future meets.

John McKeefry, 15, competed in the 400m freestyle and, together with Tobias and Carterton's Joe Hammond and Jock Cudmore, was a member of the Wairarapa boys 16yrs and over 200m freestyle relay team which finished eighth nationally.

Masterton Swimming Club head coach Anna Kitching said it was a "fantastic effort" for any swimmers to make the top 10 and she made special mention of Ben Ruback, saying he had been a solid role model for the club and was sure to go on to greater heights.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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