Photo is © 2014 Jon Hawton
This year the championships were held in Rockhampton in their new pool. When the complex is finished it will be state of the art, and a wonderful addition for the Rockhampton community. The competition pool was completed a while ago, but the 25m warm up pool was filled the week before we arrived and the change rooms were handed over on the afternoon of the registration. So there had been much angst that the facilities would not be complete for the Nationals but due to much hard work they were and they were outstanding.
There were only 433 swimmers (well perhaps a few more as Pirates were not even listed in the list of swimmers) which is a little disappointing as Queensland is such a big state, but those of us who were there had a great time and enjoyed the great competition of the Meet.
There were only 4 Pirates in the end as Richard was still recovering from his appendix operation and John was unable to make the trip. Although we may not have had the numbers we made up for it in Quality (at least the boys did).
The first event was the 400IM – always good to start with the hardest event and Mark Scullard surprised himself with a 7-second PB, then swimming his 100fly in an all time PB. This started a great Meet for Mark who was later to star in the backstroke events (before this Meet not his favourite stroke). The 100m freestyle followed the opening ceremony then the 50m backstroke in which James won the gold medal. The afternoon for the Pirates ended with us all swimming the 100m breaststroke (not all together) with James winning a gold, and Milton a bronze medal. We then tried to find afternoon tea in the town of Rockhampton, but everything was closed (at 4pm).
The first event of day 2 was the 800m freestyle, a very long event of course. Jane and Milton swam this event – when you have a spare hour ask Milton about the counters at the end of the lane, he nearly had an argument with the officials!!
All the Pirates swam the 50m freestyle, with James winning another gold medal – he was on fire!! The 200m backstroke unearthed our new backstroke star in Mark Scullard who won gold in his age group. James won a silver, and unfortunately we had no 200m butterfly swimmers.
The 400m freestyle was the first event on Friday morning. Jane and Mark swam this event and Mark won a bronze medal with a very fast swim. Milton and James swam the 50m butterfly, with James taking the gold. The 200m breaststroke was contested by Jane, Milton and Mark – Milton and Mark a very close 4th and Milton realising he had to go away and practise his turns. The 100m backstroke at the end of the day saw James with gold and Mark with a silver – well done to the team.
The last day started with the 200m freestyle, with Mark Scullard winning a bronze. All the Pirates were in the water for the 50m breaststroke, with James and Mark winning Silver and Milton winning a bronze. The 100m fly was James last event which he took another gold and Mark, Jane and Milton swam the 200m IM to end the meet, with our star backstroker taking another bronze medal.
Unfortunately we did not swim any relays (3 boys and 1 girl does not make a relay) but there were heaps of great relay swims and many fantastic performances from swimmers from other clubs. Jenny Whitely was the female swimmer of the Meet and Mark Thompson from Powerpoints was the Male swimmer of the Meet – very well deserved from both swimmers.
Powerpoints again won the pointscore this year and congratulations to them, they had a great team with lots of great swims but there were also some very notable swims from our NSW swimmers as well.
I had questioned whether having the Nationals in a regional town was a good idea but while the numbers were probably down the quality was not. The organising committee did a wonderful job and the council came to the party getting the pool ready in time despite natural disasters such as floods that occurred during the building of the pool.
Congratulations to our team which although small did our club proud and I look forward to the Nationals in Hobart next year in short course mode, which will excite those of us (not me) who get so much from the walls.