Masters Swimming champ Steven Nguyen ready for new Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club season

STEVEN Nguyen can't wait for the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club season to kick off next Saturday.

After finishing a successful season in March, including winning seven gold medals at the Masters Swimming National Championships, Nguyen, 22, is hoping to capitalise on his success this season.

He said that he hopes to perform well at the championships again, while improving his time to get selection in the state open championships.

"I put a lot of effort into my training and diet during the off-season and have lost a lot of weight, hopefully the results will come," he said.

"At the moment I haven't really had many pool sessions due to lack of pool space, so I've only swam about three to four times a week.

"Normally I will do seven or eight sessions a week. After training we do land work, just to strengthen ourselves and to mix it up."

Club president Ian Wilson said Nguyen was heavily involved in the club, being club captain for a season, the junior vice-president, an accredited learn-to-swim coach and an assistant coach for the senior swimmers. He said the club was open to all ages and all levels of ability.

"If you want to socially swim you can do that, or do the bit extra," he said.

"We promote swimming. We promote kids swimming and parents.

"Every Saturday from October through to March we have competitions and specialty events on Friday night once a month."


WHAT: Go Swim Day

WHEN: October 6 from 9am

WHERE: Merrylands Swimming Centre, 30 Burnett St, Merrylands

WHO: Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club

ACTIVITIES: Barbecue, swimming activities, talk to members about the club

SwimFest Success

The Merrylands SwimFest was again a huge success, with competitors and spectators alike enjoying a great afternoon of swimming on Saturday.

There were nearly 200 swimmers from 26 clubs, with some coming as far as Orange.

Merrylands Amateur Swimming club had 28 swimmers and finished first in the women's team score and fourth in the combined team scores behind McCredie Park, AquaBlitz Toongabbie and BlueFins.

All racing was hotly contested, with Merrylands' medal tally being seven gold, four silver and six bronze.

Merrylands Swimmer sets sights on Worlds

A RELATIVE newcomer to Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club has her sights set on competing in Italy after showing her speed in competition on the weekend.

Alison Sakurovs, 26, of Guildford West, only joined the club 12 months ago after moving house but was its best performer at the Metro South West Area Open and Age Championships at Sydney Olympic Park.

Sakurovs reached the finals and swam two personal best times in the open 50m freestyle (30.77secs) and 50m backstroke (39.30secs).

“I’ve trained a lot harder, especially in the past three months.

“I’ve been getting more serious lately,” the former Hornsby swimmer said.

“I did two PBs so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Sakurovs won three medals at a NSW masters meet recently and hopes to travel to Italy for next year’s World Masters Championships. Masters events at the championship are open to swimmers aged 25 years and older.

Sakurovs is doing it more for the experience than glory, however.

“I only race myself to see what I can achieve as an individual. I’m not concerned about places,” she said.

“I thought, while I’m young why not give it a crack and see if I can get overseas.”

Other strong performers for the Merrylands club included Brittany Johnson, who finished in the top 10 for the Open 400m Freestyle in 4:48.91. Nine-year-old Carl Sorensen offered plenty of promise after he reached the final of the 9-yeras backstroke and recorded 1:48.79.

Club Coach Peter Johnston was happy. "Usually this meet is in February so it is early to be prepared for it. We're happy with the results based on the time to prepare." he said.

Local triumph at Merrylands

MERRYLANDS Swimming Club’s Brittany Johnson produced another fine display to claim two gold medals in her home pool on Sunday.

At the AquaBlitz Toongabbie hosted carnival at Merrylands pool, the 21-year-old state representative won the 200m individual medley and 100m breaststroke.

The wins come after she claimed three gold medals at the SwimFest carnival at the same pool in February.

The Merrylands club won 18 medals at the carnival, but its good news wasn’t limited to that.

Swimmers Madelaine Hudson and Hayley Baker achieved times that qualified them for the Metro South-West Championships.

Carnival kids make splash at SwimFest Merrylands

IT was Merrylands’ carnival, but neighbours AquaBlitz Toongabbie and McCredie Park did their best to crash the annual SwimFest on Saturday.

About 250 swimmers from clubs across NSW revelled in temperatures of more than 30C at Merrylands Pool.

Mount Pritchard was the undisputed winner, while other clubs could argue over different standings.

AquaBlitz Toongabbie and Merrylands finished second and third in the club point score, while McCredie Park (Guildford) came second in the medal tally.

The Toongabbie club could thank Ashton Andree-Evarts, who won three gold medals in the boys 11-year-old group.

Ashton has swum at the state championships before, and it showed. He won the 50m backstroke in 38.07secs, the 50m freestyle in 32.99secs and 50m butterfly in 38.02secs.

The Toongabbie club swims at Seven Hills, and race secretary Kate McGuiness said the school carnival season was an incentive to swim well.

“A lot of the kids use this for the school carnivals coming up,” she said.

“A lot are school champions and are off to zone.”

While Merrylands describes itself as a small club, club coach Peter Johnston said his swimmers did well.

“We had a lot of newer, younger swimmers competing this year.

“A few of them had never competed before or this was their first carnival. So it was a good opportunity for them.”

State representative Brittany Johnson led the way with three golds. The 21-year-old won the womens opens 50m butterfly in 31.44sec, the opens 200m individual medley in 2min 35.85sec and opens 100m breaststroke in 1:22.98. The club was also boosted by strong performances from two teenage girls who hadn’t swum with the club this year.

Katie Hope, who transferred from the Wentworthville club this year, won the 14-year-old girls 50m breaststroke in 39.96sec.

Teammate Stephanie Hindle, in the same age category, hadn’t trained since September due to a shoulder problem. Yet that didn’t stop her winning the 50m butterfly in 32.84sec.

“We’ve got four of them (in that age group) and it pushes them along,” Johnston said of the girls.

Swimmers make merry

MERRYLANDS pool might have an uncertain future according to Holroyd Council, but its swimming club has rarely looked stronger.

Three swimmers from Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club have qualified for the NSW Open Championships and age championships following good results at the NSW Metropolitan Championships at Homebush this month.

Breaststroker Anthony Ventra, 16, has progressed to the age championships, as has backstroker Amber Johnson, also 16.

Johnson also qualified for the open championships, and will attend that meet with her sister, 19-year-old Brittany.

Brittany was Merrylands’ best performer. While she didn’t place in her events (best result 14th in 200m individual medley, 2:36.13), she set personal best times in six of her seven events.

Her father and club president David Johnson said the meet was a good one for the amateur club.

``The majority of swimmers broke PBs,’’ he said.

``They all swam well. We’re very proud of them all and it’s probably the best results we’ve had at a meet like this in the last five years.’‘

He attributed that form to coach Peter Johnston, who he said had introduced new ideas.

``Peter as head coach has put a new training regime in place and has been working with a few new swimmers,’’ he said.

One of those was 10-year-old Timothy Tunks, who was one of Merrylands’ five competitors at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

``It was Timothy’s first metros and he got some good results,’’ Johnson said.

``And Peter is working with some others who we are also trying to get to qualify for meets like this.’‘

Merrylands club in the swim for 40 years

JANET Sloane, whose daughter pretends to be a mermaid, never swam when she was a child growing up in Mount Druitt.

But decades later when her nine-year-old daughter Belinda showed an interest in joining Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club, she decided to jump in and join them at the Merrylands Swimming Centre.

Today, Mrs Sloane is a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the adult swim classes and also the club’s social secretary.

“I could always hold myself afloat, but three years ago I decided to get fit and improve my swimming,” Mrs Sloane said.

“I never went swimming when I was young because I had no desire.

“But my daughter Belinda, who pretends she is a mermaid, became interested in swimming and her enthusiasm got me involved. I love swimming now.”

Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club celebrates its 40th anniversary at the Crown on McCredie, Guildford, on Saturday, March 28.

“We are hoping past and current members will join us for dinner and fundraising for the swimming club,” Mrs Sloane said.

Centre dives in at the deep end

MERRYLANDS Swim Centre will be open earlier this season due to extended maintenance at Guildford and Wentworthville Pools.

The season at Merrylands will start next Monday, June 30th, two months earlier than usual - and swim coach Peter Johnston could not be happier.

"This will mean swim classes normally held at Guildford and Wentworthville can be catered for at Merrylands and it will be good for the general public as well." Mr Johnston said.

Activities at the centre, in Merrylands Park, Burnett St, include recreational laps, lessons and coaching for adults and children, and the swimming club.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 6am to 6pm, Saturday 6am to 2pm and Sunday 7am to 2pm. Entry fees are $4.20 for adults and $2.70 for children.

Take the plunge

If you have always wanted to swim competitively, Merrylands Swimming Club coach Peter Johnston invites you to dip your toe in the water.

The club is having a Come 'n' Try Day for swimmers to see if they want to take the plunge into serious swimming, either at a club, or state competition level.

"We are looking for people who can swim a bit, but want to take that further and work up to competition swimming," Mr Johnston said.

Participants need to be able to swim at least 20m but stroke and style is not important.

A competitive swimmer for 20 years, Mr Johnston has been a coach at Merrylands for about four years.

He said some swimmers enjoyed the competition and could go all the way to state championships.

Some took part for social reasons in club competitions, he said.

The day is on September 14 at Merrylands Swim Centre and is free with pool entry but registration is essential.

Swimming opportunities in pools

SWIMMING time trials will be held at Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club on Saturday September 16 and 23 from 7am.

This year's season at the pool at 17 Burnett Street, Merrylands, begins on October 7, also at 7am.

Pool spokeswoman Teresa Johnson said swimmers unable to register for the season on either Saturday are welcome to register on any Saturday morning. All levels of swimmers are encouraged to join for enjoyment and fitness, she said.