Ciara Smith is Northland's Swimmer of the Year for the third time running after she was awarded the region's top prize at the Northland Swimming awards last weekend.
Smith, 18, trains under the guidance of Northwave Swimming Club coach Monica Cooper, who won the Coach of the Year award at the ceremony for the 2018/2019 season held at the Whangārei Aquatic Centre.
Smith started her season as a member of the New Zealand team swimming at the Junior Pan Pacific Games in Fiji last July. In September 2018 she medalled in the 50-metre, 100m and 200m breaststroke at the Victoria Open Short Course championships in Melbourne and broke the NZ age-group record in the 100m.
In October at the NZ Short Course Championships she won gold in the open races in all three breaststroke distances, and two gold age-group medals in 100m and 200m breaststroke, and silver in 50m breaststroke and 400m individual medley (IM).
She broke the national open and age-group record in 200m breast and the 100m breaststroke national age-group record. Her times propelled her into the NZ team competing at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China, in December.
At the NZ Age Group Championships in April this year, Smith won gold in all three breaststroke distances and in the 400m IM and silver in the 200m IM. She claimed a New Zealand age-group record in 200m breaststroke, beating Annabelle Carey's 2007 time.
At the NZ Opens, Smith won gold in both the 50m and 200m breast, breaking the NZ age-group record in both events, and bronze in the 100m breaststroke and 400m IM. She was both Northland's ASB Secondary Schools Sports Awards and the 2018 Northland Conbrio Sports Awards swimming code female winner.
Smith is on the long list for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and is in Swimming New Zealand's bronze national age-group squad, along with clubmate Tyler Jepsen.
Smith also won the Mark Cooper Trophy for the swimmer with the closest per cent margin to a NZ age-group record at a national meet, the Swimming Northland Cups for the swimmer who breaks Northland SC and LC records by the greatest percentage margin for the season and the Richard Dunkerton LM Trophy for the swimmer who earns the highest FINA points for an event at NZ Age Group Championships.
Northland's Junior Swimmer of the Year was Ariella Ripohau from the Bay of Islands Swimming Club.
The Official of the Year Shield was shared by husband and wife team Ross and Carlrine Gillespie of Dargaville. This year Carlrine was appointed as Swimming New Zealand's technical advisor for the northern region.
Carlrine has attended numerous regional and national meets and officiated at a range of overseas events: the Oceania Championships last July in Papua New Guinea, the Para Pan Pacific Championships in Cairns last August, the Arafura Games 2019 in Darwin and this month, the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
Husband Ross Gillespie also officiated at the Pacific Games this month at the Open Water event and attended the 2019 Australian Open Water Championships in January.
Ross was one of five FINA Open Water International technical officials appointed to the 18th FINA World Championships Open Water Swimming event held in Gwangju, South Korea on July 13-19 where his roles included registration, finish judge, assistant referee and referee for the final 25km event.
Other trophy winners on Sunday were:
OW Wright Shield Club Points Trophy (greatest percentage points gained at SN championship events) – Northwave Swimming Cl
Crawford/Woodman Cup (eight-swimmer relay) – Bream Bay Swimming Club
Lorraine Holmes Trophy for the swimmer 12 and under who gains most points in 50m and 100m finals at SN Age Group Champs – Wil Douglas, Dargaville Swimming Club
Swimming Northland Trophy (the swimmer who earns the Highest XLR8 points in an event at NZ Juniors) – Ariella Ripohau, Bay of Islands Swimming Club
Martin Wilson Trophy (for the swimmer who breaks a race record by the greatest percentage margin at SN Age Group Championships) – Paul Linton, Bream Bay
Para Swimmer of the Year – Cameron Leslie, Whangārei Swimming Club
Open Water Swimmers of the Year – Emilia Finer (BOI), Quin Walden (Dargaville)
Mick Parr Memorial Trophy for service to sport – Rebecca Reade, Bream Bay
Emerging Official of the Year – Dawn Dutton, Bream Bay
Administrator of the Year – Sharon Carroll, Bream Bay
Stroke trophies for the fastest male and female swimmers in each event went to:
Paul Linton – 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m and 100m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 50m and 100m butterfly, 100m and 200m individual medley
Tyler Jepsen – 200m and 400m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 200m SC butterfly, 400m individual medley
Rebecca Reade – 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle, 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke,
Ciara Smith – 50m, 100m, 200m breaststroke, 200m and 400m individual medley
Emilia Finer – 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m LC butterfly, 200m SC butterfly
Archie White – 100m and 200m breaststroke
Nellie Clark – 100m individual medley