Country preparation for skins challenge
By TANIA PHILLIPS
KINGSCLIFF swimming club certainly put its best foot forward at the NSW Country Regional titles at Kempsey at the weekend and will look to carry on the performance next week at its home pool.
The club will hold its annual skins competition for club members and members of the public on Friday, February 9.
The event is the club's major fundraiser for the year and always a solid competition.
But thanks to an outstanding country regional performance, the club's members, from its youngest competitors to elite swimmers, will carry good form into the skins racing.
"We did a total of 62 personal bests at Kempsey at the weekend," club coach Lea Speechley said.
"We won 25 medals in all but it was actually a lot higher.
"Although they can compete, athletes who have medalled at higher events including NSW country, state or regional title cannot win a medal in that discipline at the NSW Country Regional titles.
"All our older athletes still picked medals - but they were in events they wouldn't usually swim."
Speechley said while results were important, the best part of the Kempsey trip was the chance for team bonding.
With Greg Salter's elite squad often away at major events, Hayden Stoekel, Tay Zimmer and Lara Davenport are currently preparing for the world championships in Melbourne in March, the whole club does not often get together as a team.
But Speechley said the affects of the weekend, which included team surfing, beach cricket and skit and trivia nights, have been obvious almost since the weekend ended.
"We had a club meeting last night and you can already see the difference in the vibe around the club," she said.
"Everyone is already talking about next year and they are all running around getting skins teams organised."
Speechley said the skins event was open to everyone including teams from business houses, school friends or even families.
The night features relay events, with teams of four for the 14 and under age groups while the open/all-age category is open to teams of six.
She said as well as competing themselves, the event was also a good chance to see Kingscliff's top swimmers in action with Sophie Edington, Tay Zimmer, Ethan Rolffe, Hayden Stoekel and Lara Davenport all lining up to compete against each other in the main skins events of the night.
The elite field will also include top women's surfer Stephanie Gilmore and former women's surf champion Phylis O'Donnell.
To nominate a team, and for more information, telephone the pool on 02 6674 1903.