Swim Rotorua sent 36 athletes to the Bay of Plenty Short Course Swimming Championships recently, an important stepping stone towards qualifying for nationals.

The event, held in Tauranga, provided strong competition from throughout the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua swimmers produced some impressive racing to take home 41 medals.

Ariel Muchirahondo was at the peak of his powers in the 10-year-old boys' division, taking home 10 gold medals. They came in all four strokes as well as the 100m and 200m medley. His best performance came in the 200m freestyle with a time of 2m 28.90s, which was just outside the Bay of Plenty record.

Also on a gold medal winning spree was Skye Cox who won three golds in the 17 and over age group. They came in the 50m and 100m backstroke and in the 50m butterfly. Further success came in the 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 50m freestyle with two silvers and one bronze respectively.

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Milla Theobald competed in the girls' 15-16 years age group and showed tenacity and speed in the 50m butterfly to win in 29.21s, edging her ever closer to the Bay of Plenty record of 28.81s. She also won silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 100m freestyle.

Miki Joyce continued his steady improvement to claim top honours in the 100m breaststroke and 100m butterfly in the boys' 11-12 years division. He also climbed the podium to collect a silver in the 200m breaststroke and 50m butterfly.

Miki's sister Kaia Joyce collected three silvers in the same age group in the 100m medley, 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly. Kaia then went one better to take gold in the 50m butterfly with a time of 31.97s which was a new Bay of Plenty 11-year-old record.

David Boles won two silvers, in the boys' 17 years and older 200m backstroke and 1500m freestyle and Josh Balmer, who was back in action after a short break from racing, secured some best times and a bronze medal in the boys' 15-16 years 100m backstroke.

Also back in the pool was Paddy Baylis, home on vacation from his American university season. He finished the boys' 17 years and older 400m freestyle with a time of 4m 08.45s.

Annelyse Cowie produced a solid series of races and took bronze in the girls' 15-16 years 100m breaststroke. Racking up another silver medal for Swim Rotorua was Taonga Wharekura who powered down the pool to take second place in 30.28s in the boys' 13-14 years 50m backstroke.

Hone Curtis won two silvers which came in the boys' 10 years 200m backstroke and
100m breaststroke.

New kid on the block Joe De Coster made an excellent Bay of Plenty showing in the boys' 13-14 years 100m butterfly. He gave it everything to take home a well deserved silver with an improved time of 1m 07.78s. Just tucked in behind was Sam Trass who won the bronze medal with a time of 1minute 08.67s.

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Other pleasing results included Jasmine Hagan's 31.77s 50m backstroke to snap up silver, Theo Harvey's new best time in the 50m Butterfly and a silver medal and Aaron Muchirahondo producing several best times - his solo medal came in the boys' 11-12 years 200m breaststroke with a five second best time of 3m 01.33s.

Head coach Alastair Johnson was impressed with the entire team.

"It has been great to see big improvements in our sprinting and race skills. The athletes realise that this is a really important aspect to their racing if they wish to compete against the best in New Zealand.

"It has also been good to see our youngsters produce a lot of best times which is another reflection of the gains we are seeing in training. Next up we have the AquaKnights Short Course Championships for our 13 years and older athletes."