Swimmers recover from setbacks to impress at state titles
ST Edmund's-CYMS head coach Stephen Critoph accurately described the latest Queensland swimming championships as "like a mini nationals''.
Such was the calibre of competition that even making a final was an achievement.
However, regional club swimmers excelled over the past week at Chandler, setting a number of personal bests, qualifying for finals and even securing some medals.
Ipswich Grammar School product Jayden Allum inspired his club mates by winning a bronze medal in the 12 years 100m breaststroke.
IGS head coach Greg Fasala was delighted to see Jayden swim so well at his first state titles, having come through the junior program and with strong family ties to the school.
"It's been a long time since we've been able to create a home grown swimmer,'' the former Olympian said.
"He now steps to the next level.
"He's still got so more much improvement.
"We're really excited about Jayden. He's got a really good head on his shoulders.''
Another terrific achievement was that of Grammar's Ryan Maskelyne.
Ryan recovered from a nasty shin injury mid-year to make the 15 years 100m and 200m breaststroke finals. He swam a personal best in the 200m.
A concerned Fasala remembers visiting Ryan in Ipswich Hospital and hearing him say how he was going to make a state championship final. Ryan did.
Other Grammar swimmers like multi-event competitor Jasper Ford also swam personal bests.
They return to the pool on January 6 before focusing on the GPS championships in early March and the Australian age titles in Sydney in April.
Among the standout St Edmund's swimmers were Ryan Smith who overcame a disrupted preparation with illness and injury to make the 16 years 100m and 200m breaststroke finals.
Aiden Tuihalangingie also impressed in the 16 years 100m freestyle, knocking more than a second off his personal best.
After the Christmas break, Ryan and Aiden will join 11 other St Edmund's swimmers heading to Adelaide for the South Australian championships. They are Lachlan Bilyj, Dylan Smith, Nick Dowsett, Nat Smith, Max Roche, Harrison Rae, Josh McIntyre, Bethany Smith, Britney Summerville, Elly Burling and Jordan Harton.
"We're hoping a number of kids will make some finals down there and maybe win some medals,'' Critoph said.