A young Rotorua swimmer has returned from her first international meet with a haul of gold medals.
Bianca Donelley from Swim Rotorua produced a stand-out performance at the Victorian State Age Group Swimming Championships last week in Melbourne.
Donelley stormed to victory in six of her seven events, establishing two Bay of Plenty age group records, and also achieving two qualifying times for next year's Australia Age Group championships.
Donelley was part of the AquaKnights Swim Team. The AquaKnights are the top young swimmers from the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay and Waikato, and were led by Swim Rotorua head coach Alastair Johnson.
Donelley smashed the 1 minute barrier in the girls' 13 years 100m freestyle to take the gold in 59.60 seconds, a new Bay of Plenty record. It was the same story in the 800m freestyle, where Donelley won in a best time of 9 minutes 30.67 seconds to take her second Bay of Plenty record.
She also claimed victory in the 400m freestyle (4 minutes 37.21 seconds) and blasted the field in a scorching 27.90 seconds to win the 50m freestyle.
Donelley also showed her growing confidence in the backstroke events winning both the 100 and 200m.
Donelley said she been training hard leading up to the Melbourne event, but had no real expectations.
"I felt like I was going there more for the experience," she said. "The first three races I was quite nervous but then I relaxed."
She was surprised to win six golds, she said.
"I was pretty happy with myself."
She said the support of her Swim Rotorua teammates and family and friends back home had helped a lot.
Donelley, who goes into Year 9 at John Paul College next year, will have a week off training over Christmas before getting back into it.
Her focus now is to gain selection for the New Zealand side for the Australia Age Groups in April.
"Then [the aim is] bigger international competitions with the New Zealand team."
She will find out in March if she has made the team.