The Toyota Whanganui Swim team showed excellent form and results at the Wellington Regional Short Course Championships at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie over the last two weekends.

While the very experienced Shannon Schimanski continued to build for the New Zealand Short Course Championships in October with some solid swims and her usual clutch of medals, it was the new up-and-comers that really showcased the depth of swimming Whanganui has.

Star of the meet was without a doubt Aria Bannister, with the 10-year-old winning the overall swimmer of the meet in her age group and the $50 SwimT3 voucher for first prize.

Her four gold medals in the 100m Individual Medley, and the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events were backed up with five silver (100m, 200m backstroke, 100m, 200m freestyle and the 200m IM) and three bronze (50m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly).

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She also trimmed time off Whanganui records including the 200m breaststroke which claimed the record of the well-performed Evon Storey and had been in the record books for well over a decade.

Closely following Bannister was new talent Allan Thongskul who featured strongly in the 11-year-old boys events. He picked up three gold in the 50m and 100m backstroke and the 50m freestyle.

The 50m freestyle was a particularly good effort as he had to overcome the disappointment of a disqualification after touching for what he thought would be a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke and front up again. He also won silver in the 50m and 100m breaststroke to prove what an emerging talent he is.

The next highest point scorer was Schimanski who continued her solid build up for the national short course (for swimmers 13 and over) with a gold in the 50m breaststroke, a silver in the 100m breaststroke and the 200m backstroke and bronzes in the 100m backstroke and the 200m breaststroke.

Most pleasing for Schimanski was to see that she was swimming season best times and approaching her best form in the weeks leading up to the national champs.

Fellow New Zealand short course contenders Ethan Bryers, 14, Amelia Cronin, 15, Cayden Earles, 13, Katie Kerins, 16, and Cheyenne Nightingale,13, all had very good build-ups with Bryers picking up a silver in the 400m freestyle, and bronze in the 200m backstroke, the 400m IM the 200m freestyle and the gruelling 1500m freestyle in a Whanganui open record time.

Earles picked up silver medals the 200m breaststroke and the 400m IM with an outstanding 15 second personal best as well as bronze in the 50m and 100m breastroke.
Picking up more qualifying times for the national event was the goal of Nightingale, Cronin and Kerins and all achieved their goals, with Kerins winning silver in the 50m backstroke, and bronze in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke. Nightingale picked up her bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The swimmers aged under 13 who were not eligible for New Zealand short course continued to showcase the Whanganui competitive programme with 12-year-old Georgia Abraham (who only competed in the first weekend due to a clash with the Aims Games Swimming Competition in Tauranga) winning golds in the 100m and 200m backstroke and bronze in the 50m butterfly and the 200m IM.

Eleven-year-old Regan Hanna was also well and truly in the medals with gold in the 100m and 200m freestyle, a silver in the 200m IM and bronze in the 50m freestyle and the 100m butterfly.

The remainder of the Whanganui team, Eli Abraham, Henry and Regan Carver, Hamish Cranstone, Nikki Forlong, Thomas Gowan, Caralie Hanna, Liam Head, Benji HermanJack Robertson and Lucy Somerville all contributed to an outstanding meet with top 10 finishes a plenty.

The New Zealand short course champs are now the focus of the older Toyota Whanganui Swimmers with the remainder of the squad, while it is back in the water for the rest as they train towards their personal goals.