HORSHAM Swimming Club achieved its best results at the Swimming Victoria All Junior Country Finals in Melbourne at the weekend.
The finals are the final Swimming Victoria meet for each season, and are open to qualifiers from all country swimming districts in the state.
Almost 800 junior athletes from across country Victoria competed at the meet.
To qualify for the finals, swimmers had to have one of the top five times in their district for an event.
The country finals are a sprint meet, meaning each event is 50 metres and there are no relays or individual medleys.
Because swimmers had already qualified for the finals, there were no heats – only semi-finals and finals. Semi-finals were raced on Saturday, with the top 10 times making it through to the overall finals on Sunday.
Horsham sent its largest contingent to the meet, with 31 swimmers competing at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Horsham’s Miette Hopper and Eloise Wills both medalled in the finals, with Hopper picking up a gold medal and Wills a silver.
Hopper won the 11-year-old girls breaststroke final, setting a new personal best of 41.73 seconds.
It was the second personal best in as many days for Hopper, who finished third in her semi-final with a time of 43.51 seconds. Wills was another to set a new personal best on both days of competition.
She finished second in her eight-and-under girls freestyle semi-final with a time of 40.05 seconds, but went more than a second better in the final to swim 39.04 and claim silver.
Alyssia Jenkins was the other Horsham swimmer to swim in the overall finals on Sunday.
Jenkins made the 10-year-old girls butterfly and backstroke finals, finishing eighth and sixth respectively.
She set new personal best times in both.
Horsham Swimming Club coach Jenny Ough said while the three finalists stood out with their good results, each of the Horsham swimmers who competed had reason to be proud.
“We had the biggest numbers we’ve ever had in the competition, and there were probably double the number that swam last year,” she said.
“It’s important because it’s the final junior meet for the season and it’s quite a big event.
“Overall, every child of the 31 we took had a personal best in at least one of their races, which was excellent.”
Ough said each of the Horsham swimmers who competed had also gained valuable experience.
“It was a very cool day on Saturday and Sunday was even colder, so to put those PBs out in such cold conditions was excellent,” she said. “The kids swam fantastically and enjoyed the occasion down there.
“It’s certainly a bigger atmosphere than our local meets.”
It was also a big day on Friday for the St Brigid’s College under-13 girls freestyle relay team, which came first at the School Sport Victoria Greater Western region finals in Warrnambool.
Competing against the best teams from western Victoria, the team of Jaclyn Clode, Isabella Geue, Layla Atherton and Hannah Bone qualified for the state finals in Melbourne at the end of April.
The four were part of a 13-person St Brigid’s swimming team. They are also members of Horsham Swimming Club.