Swim Rotorua made a fine start to their short course season with some encouraging hit outs at the ever-popular Taupo XLR8 swim meet.

Eighteen Rotorua swimmers competed at the event, held at the weekend, against swimmers from all over the North Island. Despite a good standard of swimming throughout the different age groups, the Swim Rotorua club bagged a total of 54 medals including 14 golds.

Theo Harvey led the gold rush with three golds in the boys' 13 years age group which all came in different strokes. These were the 100m butterfly, 200m medley and the 800m freestyle. Theo added to his medal tally with four silvers, plus third place overall with a score of 2719 XLR8 points.

Ten-year-old Kaia Joyce showed she is one to watch as she stormed home to take two golds and four silvers. It was her impressive freestyle sprinting in the 50m and 100m freestyle that caught the eye, with times of 32.55s and 1m 11.23s respectively.

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Also claiming two golds was Ngamihi Simpson who competed in the girls' 11 years age group. The gold medals came in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and she picked up a silver and six bronze medals. Ngamihi placed second overall in her age group with a total of 3151 XLR8 points.

Eleven-year-old Aaron Muchirahondo produced some great racing, and was rewarded with six medals, including two golds in the 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke sprints. Younger brother Ariel, who competed in the boys' 9 years age group, underlined his growing promise by also taking home six medals. His solitary gold came in the 200m backstroke.

Emily Spear celebrated her 15th birthday with solid efforts across the board and victories in the 100m medley and the 100m breaststroke. She backed that up with a silver in the 200m butterfly and a bronze in the 400m medley.

Sprint exponent James Baldwin showed off his competitive skills with a swift 24.90s in the 50m freestyle, which placed him second overall. He went one better in his signature 100m freestyle with a time of 55.64s. He rounded off his medal count with another silver in the 100m medley.

Annelyse Cowie used her strong breaststroke skills to win a couple of medals in the medley events. These came in the 400m medley (bronze) and in the 100m medley (silver). In her signature breaststroke events, she grabbed another brace of medals in the 200m and 50m distances. Also competing in the 400m medley was 13-year-old Alex Cameron who produced a strong effort to take the bronze medal.

Miki Joyce kicked off his short course season with lots of best times and a silver medal in the boys' 11 years 200m breaststroke. Not satisfied with that, he backed it up with a brace of bronzes in the 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke events.

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Thirteen-year-old Lina Stahlhut had a busy programme with eight events and went home with a silver and bronze in the 400m medley and 200m backstroke respectively. In the penultimate event, Lina produced an excellent time of 10m 09.30s in the 800m freestyle to win gold.

Rocco March continued his fine run of skill and speed improvements to achieve best times in all seven of his events. His best result came in the 100m freestyle with a superb time of 55.74s to take silver. Rocco's other medal came in the 100m medley.

Head coach Alastair Johnson was pleased with the team's early season form.

"We are currently building up our training base with a real focus on improving skills. It has been great to see some good early season racing with the swimmers putting their skills into practise. Over the next few weeks, we will add a lot more intensity which should lead to some very fast times later in the season," Johnson said.