Swim Rotorua members were in excellent form at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Swimming Championships.
The event, held at Waterworld in Hamilton, boasted a very strong field in all ages with students competing from all over New Zealand.
Taonga Wharekura made a spectacular national debut. Showing a great turn of speed in the 50m backstroke, he finished in 29.11s to take home the gold medal. In the 100m race, Taonga had to settle with the silver medal but with the consolation of another best time of 1m 2.83s. He also picked up another silver in the 50m freestyle with a time of 26.29s. His other top 10 places came in the 200m backstroke (4th), 50m butterfly (6th) and 100m medley (6th).
Competing in the same age group was Sam Trass. In the 100m butterfly, Sam improved his time by more than two seconds to take fourth place with a new best time of 1m 6.49s. His other top 10 placing came in the 50m backstroke where his effort of 31.77s earned him ninth spot.
Annelyse Cowie won bronze 200m breaststroke with a new best time of 2m 43.36s. She came close to another bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke with a strong second half, but had to settle for fourth place. Her time of 1m 15.63s was another personal best.
Rocco Marsh was in excellent form and smashed all his best times. His top performance came in the 50m freestyle where his time of 24.25s was a new Bay of Plenty record for 17-year-olds. That effort earned him seventh place overall.
Rocco's top placing was in the 100m Backstroke where he almost broke the minute barrier with another best time of 1m 0.18s. His other top 10 spots came in the 50m breaststroke (8th), 100m freestyle (8th), 50m backstroke (9th) and 100m medley (10th).
James Baldwin almost matched Rocco stroke for stroke and picked up some more national qualifying times in his signature sprint events. His top performances came in the 50m and 100m freestyle, finishing 10th in both with times of 25.55s and 53.94s respectively. James combined well with fellow Rotorua Boys' students Taonga, Rocco and Theo Harvey to grab eighth place in the 4x50m medley relay and 12th place in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Milla Theobald continued her recent fine form to take several top 10 places. These came in the butterfly and backstroke races. Despite giving it everything, Milla was just outside the medals in the 50m butterfly (5th) and 50m backstroke (5th).
Skye Cox almost made it onto the podium in the 100m backstroke with a time of 1m 6s to take fifth place. Her other top 10 place came in the 200m backstroke.
Also competing and posting best times galore were Kasey Taikato, Lina Stahlhut, Nikita Pola, Dion Wright and Stella Weston.
Meanwhile, the next generation of Rotorua star swimmers were in action at the AIMS Games.
Kaia Joyce showed calmness under pressure to out sprint her rivals and take gold in the 100m medley with a time of 1m 13.66s - a new BOP record. In the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle, she was again too quick for her rivals with winning times of 31.66s and 29.99s respectively. In the 100m butterfly, Kaia took silver with another best time of 1m 12.64s which was another new BOP record.
Kaia's younger brother Miki produced some great racing to grab five top 10 spots. These came in the 50m breaststroke (5th), 100m butterfly (7th), 50m butterfly (9th), 100m breaststroke (9th) and 200m breaststroke (10th).
Ava Tremain produced a heap of best times and made it through to finals in the 100m butterfly (9th) and 200m backstroke (10th).
Aaron Muchirahondo showed good improvement to take 11th place in both the 200m backstroke and breaststroke.
Head coach Alastair Johnson was delighted with the team's efforts.
"They have all showed excellent race skills across a full range of events. I am particularly pleased that our recent focus on sprinting is paying off. Next up, we have 13 Swim Rotorua athletes racing at the National Short Course Championships in Auckland."
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