More than 130 swimmers from clubs all around Northland and Auckland took to the water at Northland's age group championships in Dargaville this weekend.
Most swimmers improved their personal best times and several qualified for national meets – the NZ Junior Festival in February, Division II National Champs in Dunedin in March, National Age Groups in Wellington in April, and New Zealand's highest level meet, New Zealand Opens, which is in June in Auckland.
Multiple records fell across the three-day event. Bream Bay's Paul Linton (18) set three new times in over-17s men's 50m, 100m backstroke and 50m butterfly. Linton's butterfly time of 26.73 was also one split-second faster than the Northland long course age group and open records, both of which were set by Mark Anderson in 2008 (26.74).
Bay of Islands swimmer Ariella Ripohau set a new time in 12-year girls' 50m freestyle with
30.57 seconds, faster than the 2003 record of 30.88 set by Taryn Rench.
Northwave swimmer Nellie Clark bettered the 14-year girls' 50m breaststroke time of 35.38 seconds set by Melita Raravula in 2011 and another Northwave swimmer Annabell Simpson, 18, broke her own record from last year (1.06.59) in 17 years and over women's 100m backstroke with a time of 1.06.34.
Event umpire and co-coordinator Julie Paton said the swimmers did well to cope with a range of weather conditions at Dargaville's outdoor pool.
"The weather was mostly fine, but the worst stuff hit on Sunday as the Bay of Islands 9-years and under relay team battled through heavy rain and a cold south-westerly.
"Afterwards, the sun came out and the day finished blazing hot and windless, so all the gazebos dried out in time for packing up."
Paton said the event could not have been run without the hard work of swimmers, coaches and all support staff, who ensured all races stayed on schedule.
"The team of officials worked hard, scrutinising swimmers over the three day carnival, with several not taking a break and working every session.
"Meet directors Louise Wickham and Sharon Carroll kept everything running smoothly and ensured everyone was happy."