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.

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