Narrabri Stingrays Swimming Club was well-represented at the Tamworth Olympic Pool across the weekend as Swimming New England and North West held the 2023/24 season Speedo Sprint Heats and Long Course Area Championships events.

Twelve Stingrays were in action in the Speedo Sprints Heats on Saturday morning and seven were involved in the Long Course Area Champs event that ran across the weekend.

Speedo Sprint heats give swimmers an opportunity to swim their way into the state finals, which will be held at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on Saturday, March 2. The races were all 50 metres in length, and the top four finishers in each stroke in the respective age groups advanced. In some cases, those who were ranked outside the top four also qualified if a top-four finisher elected against attending.

Swimmers also earned a ribbon for finishing first, second, third or fourth, with the Stingrays group combining for 14 of those. All 12 of the Narrabri competitors returned home with at least one personal best time and they combined for 24 as a group.

Harper Greentree enjoyed a quite successful Saturday morning as she qualified for Sydney in two events after winning the eight-years girls’ breaststroke and placing third in the freestyle. The eight-year-old finished fifth in the butterfly and sixth in the backstroke. She achieved one new PB after improving her breaststroke time by 1.56 seconds.

Charlie-Lea Hulbert also secured a victory on the day as she finished first in the 9-years girls’ backstroke. The nine-year-old also placed second in the freestyle and fourth in the fly as she qualified for Sydney in all three of those events. She also set three new PBs, including a huge 16.57 seconds in the butterfly.

Boston Hughes also qualified for Sydney after he swam to two fourth-placed finishes on the day. The eight-year-old earned ribbons in the eight-years boys’ breaststroke and backstroke and earned a 1.28-second PB in the butterfly, in which he finished sixth. He also finished fifth in the 50-metre freestyle and will qualify for Sydney in that event if someone in the top four cannot attend.

Another Sydney qualifier was Serena Malcolm after she placed third in the 12-years girls’ backstroke and fourth in the breaststroke. The 12-year-old finished seventh in the butterfly and earned a 5.71-second PB in that event to go with her 3.89-second PB in the breaststroke.

Zoe Malcolm was also among the podium finishers for the Stingrays in Tamworth as she placed third in the 10-years girls’ 50-metre breaststroke while achieving a 5.28-second PB in the process. The 10-year-old also set PBs in the butterfly and the freestyle events as she raced to seventh-placed finishes in those.

Joining her teammates as a Sydney qualifier was Bridie Seymour as the 12-year-old secured top-four finishes in two events. She placed third in the 12-years girls’ freestyle and fourth in the backstroke, setting PBs in both events. The largest of her three PBs was in the butterfly as she shaved 1.57 seconds off her time while swimming to a fifth-placed finish.

Zara Warnock also qualified herself through to Sydney for two events as she placed third in the nine-years girls’ fly and fourth in the backstroke. The nine-year-old also set a PB in the fly and put herself in the mix to qualify for a third event for the Sydney finals as she finished fifth in the freestyle.

Jedd Stanford and Ryan Warnock both gave themselves a chance to qualify for the Sydney finals after both achieved two fifth-placed finishes. Jedd earned those in the 10-years boys’ freestyle and backstroke, and the ten-year-old also set a brilliant 7.22-second PB in the butterfly as he placed sixth, while 11-year-old Ryan’s fifth-placed finishes were in butterfly and breaststroke, and he also set PBs in both of those.

Ruby Greentree competed in all four strokes at the event and the 11-year-old swam her way to a trio of sixth-placed finishes and a seventh. She achieved an impressive 6.94-second PB in the butterfly and also set one in the freestyle.

Savannah Hughes also lined up in all four strokes and she finished ninth in all of them. The 12-year-old also came away with two personal best times, which included 2.24 seconds in the butterfly and 1.28 seconds in the breaststroke.

Phoenix Malcolm also achieved a new PB at the event as the 13-year-old shaved 2.57 seconds off her butterfly time.

Next up for the Narrabri Stingrays swimmers was the Long Course Area Championships event, and the small team of seven certainly excelled as they combined for seven gold medals, six silver medals and nine bronze medals, as well as 20 personal best times.

Daniel Smith led the way for the Stingrays again as he lined up in 10 events and swam his way to podium finishes in eight of them and finished fourth in the other two. The 16-year-old won the 15-years-and-over boys’ 50-metre fly, 50-metre backstroke and 100-metre backstroke as well as the open boys’ 200-metre backstroke, placed second in 15-years-and-over boys’ 50 and 100-metre breaststroke and 200-metre freestyle, and placed third in the 15-years-and-over boys’ 200-metre individual medley. Daniel also achieved eight new personal best times across the weekend, the best of which was 5.66 seconds in the 200-metre backstroke.

Daniel’s sister Ava also enjoyed a successful weekend as the 14-year-old lined up in eight events and earned one gold medal, three silvers three bronze, and also finished fourth in the other. She won the 14-years girls’ 100-metre freestyle, placed second in the 14-years girls’ 200-metre individual medley and open girls’ 200-metre backstroke and freestyle, and placed third in the 14-years girls’ 50-metre freestyle and backstroke and 100-metre backstroke. Ava also achieved five new PBs, including 9.87 seconds in the 200-metre individual medley and 9.70 seconds in the 200-metre backstroke.

Harper Greentree had a sensational Area Champs debut as the eight-year-old achieved gold medals in two of the three events she entered. She won the 8-years girls’ 100-metre breaststroke with a phenomenal 12.48-second PB and also won the 8-years-and-under girls’ 50-metre breaststroke with a 2.08-second PB.

Her sister Ruby also had a successful carnival as she placed third in both of the events she entered, which were the 11-years girls’ 50-metre and 100-metre breaststroke. The 11-year-old also set a new PB in the 50-metre breaststroke.

Bridie Seymour also dazzled as she earned three bronze medals after placing third in the 12-years girls’ 50-metre backstroke and freestyle and the 100-metre backstroke. The 12-year-old narrowly missed out on podium finishes in the 12-years girls’ 100-metre breaststroke and freestyle as she placed fourth in both of those events, which she also achieved new PBs in as well.

Serena Malcolm lined up in four events and narrowly missed out on bronze medals in two of them as she finished fourth in the 12-years girls’ 50-metre breaststroke and backstroke. The 12-year-old also competed in the open 200-metre breaststroke and achieved a brilliant 10.88-second PB in that event.

Phoenix Malcolm competed in one event at the Area Champs, which was the 13-years girls’ 50-metre freestyle, and the 13-year-old finished 10th.

Narrabri Stingrays Swimming Club swimmers at the Swimming New England and North West Speedo Sprint Heats at Tamworth Olympic Pool – back, Bridie Seymour, Savannah Hughes, Ruby Greentree, Serena Malcolm, Jedd Stanford, Zoe Malcolm, front, Charlie-Lea Hulbert, Harper Greentree, Zara Warnock, Boston Hughes and Ryan Warnock. Photo: Narrabri Stingrays

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