It was a big three days for Tumut swimmers at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with multiple swimmers earning medals and national qualifying times at the Swimming NSW Country Championships.
Eddie Dodds was the standout for Tumut Swimming Club, finishing second in the under 13-14 years 50m freestyle and third in the under 14-15 years 100m freestyle, whilst also earning national qualifying times in both events.
“I’m absolutely stoked, I went way better than I could’ve ever imagined I would,” Dodds said.
“I knew I was capable of the times but not this early in the season, I’m just lost for words.”
The 14-year-old recorded 25.6 for the 50m splash and dash event, a whopping 0.76 ahead of the national qualifying time.
Dodds surprised himself in the 100m freestyle though, going 56.67, more than four seconds faster than his entry time and a whole second faster than the national qualifying time.
“I definitely was not expecting to go that quick in the 100m; I was hoping to go 58 possibly but to go 56 and well under that national qualifying time is amazing,” he said.
Dodds, who was still dealing with his terrific performances, wanted to thank those who have helped him along the way.
“I obviously wouldn’t be here without everyone and I want to thank everybody,” he said.
“Max (Hargraves), Kristi (Knight) and all the coaches, my parents and the relay team and all the people over time.”
The young swimmer really had a meet to remember, going very close in other events at the meeting.
Dodds swam 1:06.68 in the 100m backstroke to finish fifth, 2:12.87 in the 200m freestyle to finish 22nd and 2:33.97 in the 200m backstroke to finish 21st.
In wasn’t just Dodds making headlines with fellow Tumut swimmer and Wagga Swim Club member Kade Knight making the podium and qualifying for nationals.
The 16-year-old finished third in the 400m under 15-16 years individual medley, swimming 4:50.65.
Knight will also go to nationals after recording a very fast 2:16.7 in the 200m individual medley and 2:13.61 in the 200m butterfly, while he also record top 10 finishes in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and 400m freestyle.
What makes this effort all the more impressive is the fact that Knight was down and out with illness in the lead up to the event.
“I’ve been sick since Tuesday and I’m still sick so I was pretty happy considering,” he laughed.
“It was a good meet anyways.”
The individual medley specialist was more pleased by one of his other performances, which almost saw him qualify for nationals again.
“My 400 individual medley was good but probably my 100m breaststroke was my best swim, I was only one second outside off (national) qualifying times,” he said.
Tumut had seven swimmers attending the 2020 Country Championships and Duncan Smallwood was another member in good form with the 16-year-old going 26.15 for the 50m freestyle, 59.76 for the 100m freestyle and 108.59 in the 100m backstroke.
Additionally, Jacob Ambrose was in action and he performed admirably, swimming 1:24.43 in the 100m breaststroke, 1:12.90 in the 100m butterfly and 2:56.23 in the 200m breaststroke to finished 14th overall.
Lillian Holtorf, who was representing Wagga Swim Club with Knight, was another busy swimmer, competing in five individual and two relay events.
The talented sprinter went 29.00 in the under 15-16 years 50m freestyle but improved on this time in the relay, going 28.96, the fastest amongst her teammates.
Finally, the Tumut Swimming Club boy’s 15 years and over relay team of Eddie and Andy Dodds, Daniel Castle and Duncan Smallwood created new personal best times.
The boys went 2:08.67 in the 200m medley relay to finish 26th before improving to 1:48.96 in the 200m freestyle relay, finishing 20th.
These strong results will give these talented Tumut products confidence ahead of a busy end to the swimming season, highlighted by the upcoming Riverina carnival and state and national events.