Success for Dannevirke swimmers

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Dannevirke Swimming Club members Ashleigh Gunn (left), Stacey Gunn and Chelsea Parlato. Photo/Lin Tozer

By Christine McKay

Dannevirke swimmers Ashleigh Gunn (13), Stacey Gunn (16) and Chelsea Parlato (17) all came home with medals from the 2017 Swimming New Zealand Division II competition in Rotorua.

Ashleigh took bronze in the 12 to 13-year-old 50m butterfly and the 100m freestyle, with Stacey taking silver in the 16-18 year-old 100m butterfly and Chelsea won silver in the 16 to 18-year-old 400m individual medley and the 200m butterfly.

At just 13, Ashleigh is the youngest of the group and in her first Division II competition, winning two medals was an outstanding result, coach Lin Tozer said.

"Ashleigh qualified for the 50m butterfly final in eighth place and swam the final from the outside lane. Her final was an intense occasion, the field hitting the turn at 25m with almost all in a straight line. The final 25m was just as tight with Ashleigh coming home very strong to touch ahead of the majority of the field in a personal best time and take the bronze medal."

In the 100m freestyle sprint event Ashleigh also set new personal best times in both the heat and the final - in all swimming the event 6.56 seconds faster than she had previously. This meant another bronze medal and a qualifying time for the upcoming 2017 New Zealand Age Group Championships in Wellington this week. Ashleigh will join fellow club member Cameron Gillespie at this meet.

Chelsea was also first-time Division II competitor and she achieved some impressive times over the course of the meet, Tozer said. Her 200m butterfly saw her do enough to make the evening final where she managed a personal best time to win the silver medal.

"In the gruelling 400m individual medley event Chelsea had a long wait to discover if she was going to bring home the gold or silver medal," Tozer said.

"The event is swum as a final with the slowest heats swum in the morning, and the fastest swum in the afternoon session. Chelsea swum her heat in the morning and was sitting ahead of the other competitors in her age group in the number one spot over the lunch break, with a single swimmer in the fastest heat with the potential to better her time. The swimmer from the North Shore Club managed to go under Chelsea's time meaning she came home with the silver medal and a 12.8-second personal best improvement. A very pleasing result."

Stacey was the only member of the team who had competed at this event before. She swam a number of events which saw her make the finals for four. In the 50m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 200m freestyle event finals she placed sixth. The 100m butterfly on the final night of competition was to be her silver medal-winning swim.

Stacey was also selected to represent the club as part of the All-Stars Zonal Relay team to compete in the final event of the competition. The All-Stars zone includes swimmers from Wellington, Wairarapa, Wanganui and Manawatu. The eight-member team came second in this event behind the Aqua Knights A ream from the central North Island.

"Swimming is a sport like no other," Tozer said. "Swimmers can't realistically train to swim by running or jumping or dancing, however, these other activities compliment and improve athletic ability, cardio fitness and endurance. As such, these other activities are essential in producing balanced swimming athletes. Each of the swimmers who attended the Division II meet are involved in other sporting activities as well as swimming."

Ashleigh is an accomplished athletics/track athlete, her strengths are in the 800m and 1500m track events.

"Her involvement in running enhances her swimming as it gives her an additional level of fitness, aerobic capacity and endurance which are entirely complementary to her swimming and vice versa," Tozer said.

"Chelsea is an up and coming swimmer with strengths in the longer, more gruelling pool events. Her swimming is complemented by cross-fit which she participates in under the guidance of her Manawatu College coach/teacher Shayne Nation. Her strength and conditioning work in the gym is improving her capability in the pool."

Stacey is a Manawatu/Central Football representative football player and member of the Freyberg High School Sports Academy, both of which have enhanced her fitness and ability in the pool.

The next meet on the Dannevirke Swimming Club calendar is the 2017 National Age Group Championships in Wellington from today until, Saturday. This meet is the pinnacle age group event in New Zealand and is attended by the top swimmers from across the country.

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