27 December 2023

Personal bests for Cooktown swimmers in Brisbane

| Matt Nicholls
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The three Cooktown swimmers in the matching shirts – Haila Hegamaea, Samuel Ryder and Rudolf Habermann – caught up with Australian Olympians Kaylee McKeown and Kai Taylor in Brisbane.

The tiny Cooktown Amateur Swimming Club has mixed it with the biggest clubs in Queensland at the 2023 State Championships in Brisbane.

Cooktown sent three representatives to the event.

They were part of a contingent of 55 from the Far North.

Haila Hegamaea swam in the 12 years girls’ 50m freestyle and clocked a personal best.

Samuel Ryder competed in the 16 boys’ 50m backstroke and butterfly for two personal bests and top 40 finishes.

Rudolf Habermann swam in the 14 years boys’ 50m backstroke and 100m backstroke for one personal best and two top 40 finishes.

“It was great seeing the kids swim at an Olympic-sized pool and seeing them doing it with ease as if they were swimming at an FNQ competition,” said club president Melissa Gunton.

“Other highlights were watching Olympic swimmers race and visiting Southbank.

“Thank you to coach Donald for getting them to stage in their swimming.

“A big thank you to coach Herbie Howard from Central Cairns for taking our children under his wing and being their coach in Brisbane.

“His guidance helped keep them at ease and they showed the country that Cooktown was meant to be there.

“And last but not least, thank you to the Central Cairns swim team for guiding us through our first state championships since 1997.”

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