Number thirteen lucky for club

Traralgon Swimming Club dominated the recent Gippsland Championships held at the Sale outdoor complex winning its 13th title in succession.

The 120 member-strong team won 87 gold, 74 silver and 69 bronze medals in a stunning display, finishing with 2392 points ahead of Warragul (739) and Sale (358), second and third respectively.

With 81 of its swimmers and 79 relay teams making finals, records were in abundance with one Victorian Country, 34 Gippsland and 26 event records broken over the three-day meet.

Senior head coach Brian Ford was full of praise of the team’s performance.

“These championships over three days were a great testament to the outstanding qualities of our athletes, young and old,” he said.

“Their resilience, attitude and performances were first class with the club achieving it highest points score ever.

“Even more pleasing was the performance of our junior swimmers who won the Ashley Delaney 14 and under trophy for the fourth time by a big margin, so there is a strong succession group in place.”

Individually, Lily Collins (16) won the most outstanding female swimmer of the meet with 10 gold, one silver and one bronze, breaking seven Gippsland and five event records.

Brayden Waltham (19) was clearly the dominant male performer with six gold, three silver and three bronze, breaking two Gippsland and event records in the process.

For the under 14 trophies in the girls section, Annie Pepper (13) and Erin Roberts (13) had a great tussle over the weekend with Annie collecting four gold, six silver and one bronze, with Erin one gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

Both girls had well over 30 swims with heats and finals and were big point scorers for the club, with Annie just winning the girl’s trophy.

In the boys, 11 year-old Alex Tsebelis won the trophy for the fourth year in succession dominating his age group with five gold and one silver.

Traralgon’s relay combinations were exceptional winning 21 of the 24 events and additionally 19 silver and 12 bronze medals.

Two of the most outstanding teams were the girls’ 16 years and under four by 50 metre medley and the girls eight years and under four by 50 metre freestyle team.

In the medley, Georgia Tsebelis (backstroke), Lily Collins (breaststroke), Mikaela Cornelissen (butterfly) and Maggie O’Keefe (freestyle) broke the Victorian Country record in a time of 2.02.86.

In the freestyle, Annaliese Nix, Jasmin Underwood, Sophie Waller and Jessica Harry broke the existing Gippsland record by over four seconds, in a time of 2.57.53.

The club has now two major competitions to go before the end of the season in April.

The first is the All Junior meet in Melbourne where 43 swimmers aged 14 years and under have qualified to race the best in regional Victoria.

The second is the Australian Age Group Championships in Brisbane, where 19 swimmers will compete against the best age group swimmers in Australia.

Ford is positive about the upcoming meets.

“The Gippsland Championships is a fantastic meet to have a final racing hit-out before we take our team to the pinnacle of age group competition in Australia, the National Age Championships,” he said.

“We have our biggest ever team and looking to achieve some great results at the highest level – the swimmers can’t wait.”