Powerpoints Masters Swimming
Powerpoints @ National Championships
Hobart - April 2023
Some of you might know of a very good Polish/British author by the name of Joseph Conrad. You might not be aware that before Conrad dedicated his life to writing he was a ship’s captain, and he spent quite some time sailing in and out of Hobart. However, you may be aware of his fine novel “Heart of Darkness” which tells the hellish story of a man sailing up a very nasty river. The good news is that is book was not written about Hobart. Indeed, Hobart seems like quite a nice place, and Powerpoints swimmers had a very good time there at the 46th National Championship event.
The event was held at the Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre over five days in late April. This pool seems to be a good place for racing, as many of us have proved at previous Nationals in 2005 and 2015, and at a number of Tasmanian state meets. Jennie Bucknell certainly rates it as a fast pool, as she has broken several World Records here – including a few at this event!
We had many highlights across the five days, but the standout performer was Jennie. On the second day Jennie broke her first WR of the meet doing the lead-out swim in the 4x50m freestyle relay! Jennie’s time of 28.24 was 1/100th of a second faster than previous mark held by JB’s friend and rival Edith Otterman of South Africa (who took/borrowed the record from Jennie last year – Jennie had previously set the WR for this event at 28.29 at this pool in March 2021).
Jennie backed up this performance on day 3 with an emphatic WR in the 100 freestyle, taking 0.15s off the previous mark in a new time of 1:01.87. The previous record had stood for 15 years. That was obviously much longer than her new 50m record would stand, as on day 4 Jennie smashed her new mark by 0.3s, driving her time down to 27.94. Almost as an aside, it is worth noting that Jennie had also lowered her own National Record for the 200m freestyle earlier in the meet.
Despite all this excellence Jennie was not to be named Female Swimmer of the Meet*; that accolade went to our own Lisandra de Carvalho! Lisandra scored lots of points across her five best events to take the top individual award for the meet. In her best event, Lisandra slashed 3s off the NR for the 200m butterfly and finished with 10 gold medals from her six individual and four relay events.
Mark Thompson was narrowly edged out for Male Swimmer of the Meet**. Mark won nine gold medals (five individual, four relay) and broke his own NR for the 100m freestyle.
Darius Schultz won nine individual gold medals while Rosa Montague won eight individual gold medals. Rosa also finished in 10th place in the overall Female SOTM standings and lowered her own Victorian Record in the 800m freestyle. Other state record breakers were Brett Davidson (who broke four VRs) and Marijke Alderson and Stephen Cronk (one each).
In the final standings Powerpoints was the second ranked club, coming in behind Malvern Marlins. Along with those mentioned above, much credit must go to all the other Pointers who swam in many events***, scored lots of valuable points for the club and in some cases set new PBs. New member Ania Siedlaczek swam in 11 individual events and set PBs in most of them! Of course, relay events are a great component of every carnival we attend, and we can’t field great teams across the age groups without lots of contributors. Our best age bracket this year was the 200-239 segment, which we won handsomely – winning four of the six events. Our female teams won both of their events in new NR times (taking three seconds out of one record and eight seconds out of the other!).
In total Powerpoints swimmers won 55 gold medals along with 20 silver and 16 bronze. That is quite a lot of bling for five days!
So that is a brief account of some of the great performances we saw at Nationals this year. I think this was one of the best swimming comps I’ve been to – not just because I swam well, and not just because we all swam well, and not just because Jennie broke world records, and not just because we had great relays (thanks Darius and Jacinta for putting these together) but for all of those things and more. We had some nice team dinners and drank some nice wine and met some good folk from other clubs. Some of us even danced at the Presentation Dinner (in between collecting trophies 😊). The competition was run very well, and there was a really good spirit around the pool this week.
Hobart really is not the heart of darkness.
*Jennie was not eligible as SOTM is assessed as the swimmer with the best performances over five individual swims. Jennie swam in three individual events and three relays. PS: for those wanting to learn some of Jennie’s training secrets you can listen to her speak about them here.
**Mark came second to Paul Blackbeard of Claremont, who broke one WR and seven other NRs at the meet.
***but not much backstroke – we need more backstrokers!