12 October 2023

Cooktown swimmers pick up 10 medals in Darwin

| Sarah Martin
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Swimming sensation Sam Ryder brought home four silver and four bronze medals, as well as two State qualifying times.

The luggage flying back was much heavier for Cooktown’s swim team, with a whopping 10 medals from the Darwin Country Championships last week.

Cooktown Amateur Swimming Club took a record team of 10 athletes to the national-level event from 30 September to 3 October, with young swimmers Sam Ryder and Rudi Habermann raking in a massive 10 medals between them.

And while the podium finishes were the icing on the cake, the entire team also performed exceptionally well club president Mel Hegamaea said.

“Our swimmers raced in 75 preliminary events, making 48 finals and 10 placings, with 70 personal bests and five State qualifying times,” Ms Hegamaea.

“A couple of our children missed out on placings by only 0.02 of a second.”

During their week-long trip, the team were poolside for preliminary events from 7.30am to 11.30am and back again from 4pm to 8pm for finals, with their average day running from 6am to 9pm.

The team crammed as much sightseeing as they could in around competition.

“It was a week of action-packed sightseeing and swimming!” Ms Hegamaea said.

“We visited the Mindil Beach markets, Darwin Yacht Club, Darwin Museum, Darwin Trailer Boat Club, the waterfront and the aqua park.

“Highlights outside of competition would have to be a JX clinic with event ambassador and Olympic gold medalist Chelsea Hodges and also finding out she is from Biloela and her mother was a teacher at Cooktown State School, and visiting the aqua park and museum.”

The team isn’t resting on their laurels, back in the pool training for the Dimbulah long course meet, Malanda short course meet and Queensland State Championships.

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