Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton swimmers take on best in country

Shepparton Swimming Club has a contingent of 32 members heading to Sale to compete in the three-day Victorian Country Championships beginning tomorrow.

HANNAH DRISCOLL January 24, 2013 4:10am

Shepparton Swimming Club members Marc Carroll, Tristan Crowie, Emma Hurley and Darcie Guthrie are heading to their first Victorian Country Championships tomorrow.

Shepparton Swimming Club has a contingent of 32 members heading to Sale to compete in the three-day Victorian Country Championships beginning tomorrow.

Unlike the Victorian Open Championships which four Shepparton members swam in two weeks ago, the Country Championships are an aged event and only open to members of country affiliated clubs.

Shepparton co-coach Michelle Swift said the swimmers had met qualifying times to race against some of the top country Victorian competitors.

‘‘It’s a really, really important meet for country swimmers to go and attend that doesn’t involve the metro clubs,’’ Swift said.

‘‘They don’t have access to the same sort of facilities, so it’s nice for them to have their own country meet and see who the best is in the country areas.’’

Preparations for the meeting hit a hurdle earlier in the week because some of the competitors’ families had been informed their accommodation may not be available because of the bushfire threat in those areas.

Swimming Victoria was informed earlier in the week that Sale would not be affected by the bushfire risk and decided the event would proceed as scheduled.

But accommodation had been booked in towns surrounding Sale because of the high demand due to the number of competitors travelling to take part.

The dilemma could especially affect the relay teams, because a team cannot put in a substitute if one team member is unavailable.

Of the Shepparton members competing across the three days, 22 qualified for individual swims and 10 are going for relays.

The individual swims will cover about 70 events.

‘‘At this stage 15 are ranked in the top 10, so we’re really hoping they put in a bit of effort, and there could be some surprise ones yet,’’ Swift said.

‘‘We’re hoping for some good finishes and some good results and we’ve still got children trying to qualify for age and open nationals, so this is one of the last main opportunities to get qualifying times against pretty good competitors.’’

Swift said this was the last real squad event the Shepparton club would go to that would give some members exposure to a higher level of competition.

‘‘The ones that don’t go to states and that, this is a really big step for them and we just hope they all get PBs and have a really good weekend,’’ she said.

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