Country Junior District Champs

Leaders: Gippsland District Team Captains Emily Croatto and Archie Smyth with the trophy.


A TEAM of 87 Gippsland Swimmers were once again victorious in claiming the title of Country Junior District Champions at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Locals performed very well, taking to MSAC on Saturday, October 28.

In the history of the competition, Gippsland was the champion district at the previously named Country 7-10 Competition from 1978-1988, winning the trophy 11 times. From 1989, the trophy was won by Ovens & Murray District for the next four years. Gippsland reclaimed the title in 1993 and has held onto it since, making Gippsland the Country Junior District Champions for 30 consecutive years.

This year’s team consisted of 12 swimmers from Sale Swimming Club, 22 swimmers from South Gippsland Bass Swimming Club, 11 swimmers from Warragul Swimming Club, 28 swimmers from Traralgon Swimming Club, six swimmers from East Gippsland Water Dragons, four swimmers from Moe Swimming Club, and four swimmers from Morwell Swimming Club.

At the conclusion of the day, Gippsland was declared the overall champions with a combined total of 1657 points, ahead of the Central District on 850. Gippsland girls scored 762 points and the Gippsland boys scored 833 points.

Throughout the meet, Gippsland swimmers won three individual events, placed second in 14 individual events, and third in 13 events. The team also won 10 out of 12 relay events and placed second in the other two relay events.

Gippsland was led by swimming captains Emily Croatto (South Gippsland) and Archie Smyth (South Gippsland). Coaches for the day were Heidi Gratton (Warragul) Samantha O’Keefe (South Gippsland) and Lorrianne McKenzie (South Gippsland). Team managers were Josh Szkwarek (Traralgon), Janelle Smyth (South Gippsland) and Brooke Said (Traralgon).

Placegetters for the day were:

11-Year-Old-Girls: Emily Croatto (South Gippsland): 3rd 50m Butterfly, 2nd 50m Backstroke, 2nd 50m Breaststroke; Indi Joiner (Warragul): 3rd 50m Backstroke; Elise Pratt (Traralgon): 3rd 50m Freestyle.

11-Year-Old Boys: Jayden Tran (Traralgon): 3rd 50m Butterfly, 3rd 50m Breaststroke; Archie Smyth (South Gippsland): 2nd 50m Backstroke, 3rd 50m Freestyle; Max Williamson (Sale): 1st 50m Breaststroke.

10-Year-Old Girls: Lilah Stevens (Warragul): 2nd 50m Breaststroke

10-Year-Old Boys: Logan Gibson (Warragul): 2nd 50m Butterfly, 2nd 50m Backstroke, 1st 50m Breaststroke, 2nd 50m Freestyle.

9-Year-Old Girls: Pippa Brideson (Sale): 2nd 50m Butterfly.

9-Year-Old Boys: Hayden Rawson (Traralgon): 2nd 50m Butterfly, 2nd 50m Backstroke, 2nd 50m Freestyle; Henry Arnup (Sale): 3rd 50m Backstroke.

8-Year-Old Girls: Ruby Pirouet (South Gippsland): 3rd 50m Butterfly; Ruby Stagg (Moe): 2nd 50m Backstroke, 2nd 50m Freestyle.

8-Year-Old Boys: Matthew Thornby (South Gippsland): 3rd 50m Butterfly; Dylan Wu (Morwell): 1st 50m Breaststroke; Austin Lynch (South Gippsland): 2nd 50m Breaststroke, 3rd 50m Freestyle.

8-11-Year-Old-Multiclass: Mackenzie Gibbs (Sale): 3rd 50m Breaststroke; Blake Warne (Traralgon): 3rd 50m Freestyle, 3rd 50m Backstroke.

Strong: The Gippsland Team at the 2023 Country Junior District Competition. Photographs supplied