JUNIOR Horsham Sharks swimmers Layla Atherton, Miette Hopper and Bella Geue all recorded personal best times at the Victorian Country Swimming Championships in Wodonga at the weekend.
The three girls were the first Horsham Swimming Club members to compete at the championships in five years, and while none could win a place into an event final, they all beat their previous best times.
Atherton, 12, competed in the 12-year-old 100-metre butterfly, Hopper, 11, in the 11-and-under 50-metre butterfly, freestyle and breaststroke, and Geue, 11, in the 11-and-under 50-metre freestyle and backstroke.
Paul Atherton part of the Horsham Swimming Club coaching panel and Layla's father said all three girls acquitted themselves well in the water.
"I think the main thing is that everyone set personal bests - it's great for the club and for the individual girls," he said
"Miette and Bella had the 24th and 25th fastest times in the 50-metre freestyle, and were within one second of making the final."
Hopper finished 16th in the breaststroke and 18th in the butterfly, while Atherton finished 17th in her butterfly event.
He said the girls were welcomed to a big atmosphere in Wodonga, and responded well to the challenge of competing in front of a sizeable crowd.
"I think they were a bit overwhelmed at first there was music, big tents and people everywhere," Atherton said.
"There were literally thousands of people, they had grandstands around the pool and it was an incredible atmosphere."
The three train several times a week at the Horsham Aquatic Centre with multiple coaches, led by the club's coaching team leader Jenny Ough.
"It's a good reflection of the level of coaching that we've qaulified swimmers across multiple strokes for the country championships," she said.
She said Hopper had qualified to compete at the Victorian Sprint Championships in early February.
The next district meet is at Donald on Saturday.