The SunSmart Country Pennants is considered a highlight of the Regional Swimming Calendar bringing clubs together from as far south as Albany, far east as Kalgoorlie and as far north as Broome to compete against other regional clubs across the state. A fantastic two days of closely fought competition between five divisions, over 30 clubs and 600 competitors came together in Mt Barker for the March 2021 long weekend. The annual event is considered the longest running Championship outside Perth where old friends get together, families spend time enjoying each other’s company, celebrating the swimming successes that happen over the weekend.
Gingin Super Seals had another successful meet with some impressive personal best times from the 14 swimmers in attendance, the largest team submitted in a regional competition in over five years. Coach, Beck Foulkes-Taylor said the team came together to celebrate each and everyone’s personal swim achievements over the weekend for the first year competing in D Division.
The Medley Relays were first up after welcome and ceremony March Past, with the team of Steven Bailey (Backstroke), Ebony White (Breaststroke), Fenella Brady (Butterfly) and Beck Foulkes-Taylor (Freestyle) in Event 7, the Mixed Open 200 Meter Medley Relay finish very closely in third position after leading for most of the race until the final 10m in a time of 2:27.13.
The Mixed 12 & Under 200m Medley Relay team of Emmeline Brady, Sophie Tennant, Ebby Oxley and Todd Gavlik were swimming next for the Super Seals in Event 18, finishing in a solid race in fifth position. Emmeline (10) then swam in Backstroke once again to compete in Event 26, Mixed 14 and Under 200m Medley Relay along with Kendra Venn, Breaststroke, Steven Bailey, Butterfly and Romi Oxley in Freestyle to win their first team medal of the event with a Bronze in a fantastic time of 2:52.39. Event 34 followed, Mixed 16 & Under 200m Medley Relay with all team members swimming their signature strokes, Hope Kavanagh (Backstroke), Karina Venn (Breaststroke), Steven Bailey (Butterfly) and Daniel finishing strongly in Freestyle in a time of 2:27.34 to finish strongly in first place to claim a team gold.
Emmeline swam her first individual race for the Girls 10 & Under 50m Breaststroke event, however due to a goggles technical issue did not finish, although swimming strongly for the first 25m. Coach Beck Foulkes-Taylor said it was fantastic she tried to keep going under difficulty and had the courage to also make the decision to not finish her race. The Girls 11 & Under 50m Breaststroke featured Sophie Tennant who secured her first gold medal for a meet this season in an impressive time of 53.38, a personal best time.
Romi Oxley swam in Event 73 Girls 12 & Under 50m Breaststroke to finish in fifth in a personal best time of 52.54, while Todd Gavlik following in the next event to finish in third place, securing a Bronze in a personal best time of 51.21.
The Girls 13 & Under 50m Breaststroke was a strong swim by Super Seal, Kendra Venn in a personal best time of 48:03 to finish in first place to secure gold, and Steven Bailey in a tight competition once again with Samual Anspach from Wongan Hills finishing in second place with a personal best time of 44.12. Karina Venn, once again swimming in her favourite stroke, in the Girls 15 & Under 50m Breaststroke to finish first in 45.22, while Hope Kavanagh in the Under 16’s finished with a gold in a personal best time of 45.72.
Daniel White swam in Event 114, Boys 16 & Under 50m Breaststroke to finish strong in second place in a time of 42.23 while his sister Ebony swam in an impressive time in Event 123, Women’s Open 100m Breaststroke in a personal best time of 1:25.90 to finish in first place, securing a top six finish. She followed this incredible swim in under 40s to finish in first place in the Women 17 & Over 50m Breaststroke in a time of 39.02.
The afternoon session started the Freestyle events, and Emmeline Brady was back in the water with a personal best swim of 42.26 in the Girls 10 & Under 50m Freestyle D Grade to finish in second place impressively behind Hannah Osborne from Mt Barker. Sophie Tennant followed in the Girls 11 & Under 50m Freestyle also finishing strongly in 41.23 to secure second place, dropping 6.18 for a personal best time. Romi Oxley and Todd Gavlik followed in the 12 years & Under 50m Freestyle events, with Romi securing her first medal of the event, a bronze medal in a strong time of 40.73, and Todd in fourth in 40.51, both in personal best times.
Kendra Venn swam Event 183, Girls 13 & Under 50m Freestyle to finish in second place with a personal best time of 37.04, with Steven Bailey in Event 194, Boys 14 & Under 50m Freestyle in a fantastic time of 30.71 just off his personal best time for third place. Karina Venn then swam in the Girls 15 & Under 50m Freestyle to finish strongly in third place in 33.89. Hope Kavanagh and Daniel White swam the 16 & Under 50m Freestyle to finish second place for Hope in 32.44 and fourth just outside his personal best time of 30.10 for Daniel.
Fenella Brady, after a long rest between races finished impressively in first place in a personal best time of 1:12.21 for Event 223 in the Women’s Open 100m Freestyle, closely in third position of 33.38 in her next event, the Women 17 & Over 50m Freestyle D Grade to finish the first day of events for the Super Seals.
The Super Seals were sitting fifth on the D Division ladder, 197, ahead of Wongan Hills on 177, behind York on 203, Tom Price 266, Collie 294 and first place Mt Barker 319 at the end of Day 1.
Ready for Day 2, the Super Seals Team were fired up for their morning events of Butterfly, and Emmeline was off and racing in the Girls 10 & Under 50m Butterfly to finish closely with a personal best time of 57.50 in third place. Sophie Tennant swam next in Event 263 Girls 11 & Under 50m Butterfly to also finish strongly in second place in a time of 51.05. The 12 & Under 50m Butterfly followed, with Romi Oxley in a time of 53.01, the same time recorded for Todd Gavlik a personal best time for both.
Another impressive swim for the series from Kendra Venn in the Girls 13 & Under 50m Butterfly to finish in a personal best time of 44.58 in second place while Steven Bailey swam against Wongan Hills swimmer Samual Anspach in a very tight event, to finish just off first place, in second position in a personal best time of 34.96. Event 303, Girls 15 & Under 50m Butterfly D Division featured Karina Venn swimming a personal best time of 40.83 to also finish in second place.
In the 16 Years & Under category, Hope Kavanagh finished strongly in first place in an impressive time of 35.27, a personal best while Daniel White had a challenging event to finish with a bronze another personal best time of 38.94.
Women’s Open 50m Butterfly featured Ebony White who finished well ahead of Collie and Mt Barker swimmers in a 34.18 to claim gold, while Fenella Brady competed in the Women’s 17 Years & Over 50m Butterfly to also finish strongly in second place in a time of 37.95 just outside her personal best time to complete the club’s participation in the Butterfly events.
Event 353 Girls 10 & Under 50m Backstroke was then underway, with Emmeline strongly finishing in first place to claim her first gold for the weekend in a time of 52.60, while Ebby Oxley also swam her first individual event to finish strongly in first place in the Girls 11 & Under 50m Backstroke in a personal best time of 46.11 while her sister Romi competed in her age group 12 & Under to also finish with a personal best time of 49.05 in sixth position. The Boys 12 & Under 50m Backstroke D Division, Todd Gavlik finished in third position, in a personal best time of 46.09 while Kendra Venn also finished with a bronze in a time of 47.26 another personal best time against some tough competition in her age group. Coach Beck Foulkes-Taylor said there were some consistently strong performances from the younger group of Super Seals swimmers, highlighting their potential for growth from the weekend.
The Boys 14 & Under 50m Backstroke event featured Steven Bailey who swam an impressive 34.41 personal best time to finish in first position ahead of Samual Anspach from Wongan Hills 34.86 and Kye Rumble from Tom Price in third. Karina Venn followed suit in another impressive swim for her backstroke event to also finish with a gold and a solid time of 39.66 well ahead of Collie swimmer Skye Washer and Alexis Mark from Mt Barker.
Event 413 and 414 16 & Under 50m Backstroke events with Hope Kavanagh in first position in a personal best time of 36.72 and Daniel White in third position with a 40.67 just outside his personal best time. To finish the backstroke events, Ebony White swam the Women’s Open 100m to finish in an impressive time of 1:18.24, a personal best time, while Fenella Brady swam the Women’s 17 & Over 50m Backstroke to also finish in first position in a personal best time of 37.03.
The Mixed 200m Freestyle Relays were held at the end of Day 2 with excellent swimming from the younger Super Seals teams finishing in fifth and fourth positions for their age groups. The team of Hope Kavanagh, Karina Venn, Steven Bailey and Daniel White closely fought out the Mixed 16 & Under 200m Freestyle Relay D Division with the Collie Team touching in first place in 2:01.88 and Gingin in second in 2:06.66 ahead of Mt Barker, Wongan Hills and York. The final relay event for Gingin included Hope Kavanagh again swimming first, Ebony White, Fenella Brady and Daniel White bringing it home, and a very exciting race with Collie, Mt Barker and Gingin fighting for first place, Collie just touching ahead of Gingin in 2:05.76 for first place, Gingin 2:06.64 for second ahead of Mt Barker 2:08.15, third, followed by York in fourth, Tom Price in fifth and Wongan Hills in sixth position. Coach Beck Foulkes-Taylor said it was a fantastic swim from all Super Seals teams to end the weekends swimming.
This concluded all the events for the Super Seals with team points being awarded for D Division, Mt Barker finishing in first place overall 635, ahead of Collie in second 578, Tom Price not far behind in 549, York fourth with 401.50 and Gingin Super Seals 399 for fifth place and Wongan Hills in sixth on 304.50. Coach Beck said this means the Super Seals will remain in D Division for the 2022 Country Pennants event, a great result from fourteen swimmers over the two days.