Sydney University Swim Club claimed one gold, two silver and one bronze on their way to a third ranked NSW team position at the Swimming NSW State Open Championships held last week.
This fantastic result also included 13 finals swims (swimmers in the top 10) and seven B Final swims (swimmers ranked in the top 20).
The championships were the last major competition before April’s World Championship selection trials and all the big fish were in the water.
Sydney University’s own Jono Newton, Matt Abood, Sam McConnell and Emma Gray swam alongside Olympians Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones and Geoff Huegill, as well as butterfly world record holder Therese Alshammar of Sweden, Olympian Ryan Cochrane of Canada, the national team of Japan, and international swimmers from New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Malaysia, Singapore and Israel.
There were also clubs from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the AIS in Canberra.
Sydney Uni was represented by a strong team of 19 athletes and Head Coach Bobby Folan was impressed with his swimmers’ progress and felt they had “put in many strong performances”.
The three-day meet produced some very impressive individual and relay performances from Sydney University’s finest swimmers.
Elite Athlete Scholarship holders Abood, Newton, McConnell, Stephen Parkes, Gray, Meagan Ramsay and Kate Johnson all made finals.
None was more impressive than freestyler Abood, who claimed gold in the 50m event and in the process produced the 10th fastest time in the world this year – stopping the clock at 22.63.
Abood finished second in the 100m freestyle.
McConnell claimed bronze in the 100m butterfly in a personal best time, while Parkes finished 10th.
McConnell also finished 10th in the 50m butterfly, producing a personal best in the heats.
Newton finished a creditable eighth in the 50m freestyle, Gray claimed ninth in the 50m butterfly, Johnson finished 10th in the 100m butterfly in a personal best time, Ramsay competed in two finals – the 400m individual medley and 200m breaststroke – finishing eighth and ninth respectively.
The men’s freestyle relay team, consisting of Matthew Abood, Andrew Abood, Jono Newton and Gordon Willis finished with a podium result in second place, while the B team finished 10th.
The men’s medley relay team, consisting of Tim Halliday, Stephen Parkes, Sam McConnell and Matthew Abood, finished a creditable fifth place.
The women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay team, containing Emma Gray, Gemma Johnson, Kate Johnson and Christine Kidd, finished sixth.
Special mention must go to Sydney University’s youngest competitor, Paige Burland, who competed at her first Open Championships and produced some great times.
At 13, Burland became the youngest swimmer for Sydney University to qualify for a National Open event (50m backstroke).
Burland had three individual swims and a relay swim, all of which produced personal best times.
Sydney University swimming coach Vanessa Smith was full of praise for Burland.
“Paige was really impressive and she should perform extremely well at National Age in April,” she said.
The team will now turn their attention to the National Open Championships to be held in April.