Swim Club finishes second at Australian Championships

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Sydney University Swim Club finished the Telstra Australian Swimming Championships at the Sydney Olympic Pool and Aquatic Centre (April 1 to 8) as the second-ranked NSW team with one gold, one silver and one bronze and a plethora of strong individual and relay performances.

SUSC had high expectations leading into the Championships, with a squad of 22, including 17 Elite Athlete Program Scholarship holders, in what was a genuine selection trial for the FINA World Championship teams, World University Games and the Para Pan Pacific Championships.

Elite Athlete scholar Matthew Abood sealed his selection for the FINA World Championships to be held in Shanghai in July after his sizzling performance in the 50m freestyle, which earned him gold, and his 4x100m freestyle relay silver (which included Sydney University team-mates Stephen Parkes, Andrew Abood and Gordon Willis).

Abood capped off a spectacular week when he and his team-mates (Parkes, Alistaire Pickles and Sam McConnell) picked up bronze in the 4x100m medley relay.

Para swimmer Sarah Hilt’s selection in the Para Pan Pacific Championships, to be held in Canada in August, was well deserved after a string of personal best times.

Hilt will compete in Canada in the S4 Classification in the 50m backstroke.

“This is an amazing achievement,” Hilt’s head coach and Sydney University Swim School coach and program manager Vanessa Smith said.

“To come so far with five weeks of training is a credit to Sarah and we look forward to working towards Para Olympic selection next year.”

There were also a number of other fine individual performers at the championships, including  Parkes, who made the final of the 200m individual medley and the 200m butterfly, and Emma Gray who swam in the 50m butterfly.

Sydney University swimmers were involved in 17 individual semi-finals. They included Matthew Abood, Andrew Abood and Jono Newtown (50m freestyle), Matthew and Andrew Abood (100m freestyle), Emma Gray, Jono Newton, Sam McConnell and Melanie  Houghton (50m butterfly), Emma Gray , Sam McConnell and Stephen Parkes (100m butterfly), Stephen Parkes and Kate Johnson (200m butterfly), Stephen Parkes and Meagan Ramsay (200m individual medley) and Ramsay (200m breaststroke).

The students were also particularly strong in the relay events, where the squad was involved in five final swims – men’s A and men’s B 4x100m freestyle, men’s 4x100m, medley and women’s 4x100m freestyle.

“It was a fun week with many great swims,” Sydney University head coach Bobby Folan said.

“The squad has worked very hard for this and they were rewarded for their commitment.”

“It’s exciting to know that there are still plenty of things to work on heading into next year’s Olympic Trials!”

Sydney University Swim Club finished as the second placed NSW team, behind SOPAC and in ninth position on the overall club point score.