PERSONAL-BEST times were the order of the weekend when almost 250 swimmers converged on AquaZone for a shortcourse carnival.
The Warrnambool pool welcomed competitors from 13 metropolitan and six country clubs for the two-day event.
The competition offered them a chance to post qualifying times for country, metro and state championships later this year.
But beating their own personal benchmarks was just as important for the emerging prospects, aged from eight to 25.
Warrnambool Swimming Club coach Josh Sobey said he was rapt with the efforts of 59 members who took to the pool.
“PBs, I don’t know many that wouldn’t have set one, especially the younger guys,” he said.
“Obviously Isaac (Jones) and a few guys in Jayson Lamb’s squad are still a little bit away but they’re in a different training regime.
“I think it was a pretty good weekend. From all reports a couple of the other clubs had guys swim well. It all makes it worthwhile then.
“Some guys travelled three or four hours to compete.”
Sobey said the weekend ran smoothly thanks to the efforts of the club’s committee and volunteer helpers.
“You’ve got to thank the committee. There’s a new committee in place and it was pretty well organised,” he said. Warrnambool, with the biggest contingent of swimmers, claimed the overall teams championship ahead of Haileybury Waterlions Swimming Club and Swimland Swim Club on the Mornington Peninsula.
Warrnambool’s Holly Windahl, 13, won the individual point score for the girls 12-13 age group while clubmates Lainey Miller was second in the girls’ 14-15 and Meg Flaherty was third in the 16-17 age group. Ashleigh Pettigrew and Caitlyn Mackay were second and third in the 18 and over women’s section.
Warrnambool’s Alex Johnston claimed the nine and under boys’ section with seven wins and a second from eight individual events while the club’s number one swimmer Isaac Jones dominated the 18 and over section, winning all his nine events and taking the overall honour from Hamilton multiclass swimmer Aaron Skinner.
In other strong results for the host club, Blake Turner was second in the 14-15 boys’ section while Benjamin Raymond and William McPhee were second and third in the boys’ 16-17 points score.
Among swimmers to leave a smile on their coaches’ faces were Warrnambool pair Emily Bartlett and Chloe Windahl.
Brauer College student Emily, 13, finished with seven personal bests and bettered qualifying times in six events for August’s country shortcourse championships.
Her best effort was clocking two minutes, 49 seconds for the 200-metre individual medley, slashing 12 seconds off her previous mark.
Emily, who celebrated her birthday last Friday, started swimming three years ago. She trains six times a week with coach Josh Sobey.
“They’re pretty good times. Some are a bit slow but most I’ve got are PBs,” she said.
Chloe, 11, is also in the early stages of her swimming career. She set personal bests in all nine individual events and bettered five country championships qualifying times. Victorian Country Championships are at Shepparton on August 16 and 17.