BIG SPLASH: Why Ipswich swim meet was so successful
THE focus for the Ipswich region's leading swimmers turns to next month's Queensland championships after the successful Woogaroo Carnival on Saturday.
Ipswich Girls' Grammar School head coach Stephen Ballhause was among the mentors who oversaw the fantastic turnout for the inaugural event at the Bundamba Swim Centre.
Despite the windy conditions which created extra challenges for the competitors, Ballhause was delighted to see 388 swimmers from 22 clubs represented.
"This was a great opportunity for local clubs to get together and support each other in the local environment in a pool that has been a centre piece to Ipswich for many years,'' Ballhause said.
Ballhause, who is a part of the regional Justsportnfitness team, said swimmers also came from Brisbane and Toowoomba clubs.
Host club Woogaroo had 98 competitors contest the program, which featured a range of events for swimmers aged from eight to 24. That included six multi-class swimmers.
The Woogaroo Carnival was sponsored by the Rotary club, Ipswich City Council and McNamara & Associates.
"We also would like to thank all of the clubs who supported us by attending this meet and providing the competition amongst the swimmers,'' Ballhause said.
"It was a successful day and hopefully the local businesses in the area noticed an increase in business revenue from the 500 plus visitors to the area on the day.''
Justsportnfitness manager Justin Lemberg praised the Woogaroo Club team for their efforts on a busy day of competition, especially after some late entries were received.
"The good thing is the swimming club was very organised,'' Lemberg said.
The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic medallist was thrilled to see so many regional swimmers support the Ipswich event. "Most pleasing was the feedback from all the parents and the swimmers there,'' Lemberg said.
He said the swimmers had to contend with winds gusting to 30 knots at times.
"It blows a little wave into them and causes a chop across the top of the water,'' he said.
However, the swimmers displayed plenty of character meeting the extra challenge.
"The main aim of the meet was not only as a last chance qualifier for Queensland states in December, but to also provide a high quality meet to clubs in the regional areas without having to constantly travel to Brisbane or the coastal areas for strong competition,'' Ballhause said.
"Many of the swimmers from these attending clubs achieved their goals of state qualifying times and setting new personal best times, which was great to see.''
The state titles are at Chandler from December 15-21.
The Woogaroo club will be represented by about 30 swimmers at the hotly contested championships held each year.
"This shows just how strong swimming is in this region and how many promising athletes are coming through the ranks, which is great to see and be a part of,'' Ballhause said.
Lemberg agreed, hoping to see the Ipswich region well represented at the state titles.
"This (Saturday) was the last meet that they will swim in. Now they will just start preparing and tapering down for it,'' Lemberg said.
Regional club officials are welcome to email their achievements and recent individual successes to: email@example.com