Zac Sherar, Cooper Quaife, Sienna Matheson, Rahni Matheson, Olivia Holmes and coach Dylan Muir.

The successful 200m breaststrokers with coach Lori McKenzie (centre): Zac Sherar – silver and Rahni Matheson – gold.

Olivia Holmes, Rahni Matheson and Milla Laub celebrate their national times.

Siblings Cooper and Gypsy Quaife celebrate making it to the event.

Trinity O’Keefe ready to swim on Swim TV.

THE ‘Holy Grail’ of swimming in Victoria occurred on the March long weekend, with 23 swimmers flying the South Gippsland Bass (SGB) flag at the return of the Victorian Age Championship Long Course event at MSAC.

What a fantastic achievement to the 23 swimmers, aged between 12 and 18, who managed to qualify for state championships – the club is so proud of you.

The swimmers managed to meet the tough qualifying times and compete over the five days in distances ranging from 50m to 400m in all strokes against swimmers from 84 clubs throughout the state.

For several swimmers, this was their first big meet like this, due to COVID and to those in the 12 and 13 age groups. It was a massive learning experience.

While not everyone made finals, a personal best was achieved for all swimmers in one, if not more events, with up to 4 or 5 and even 8 seconds knocked off their best times which, for swimmers of this calibre, is a huge effort.

Those who represented South Gippsland Bass at the Victorian Age Championship Long Course 2022 were: Hayden Barnes, Billy Boyd, Maddison Boyd, Max Brocklesby, Asha Chalmers, Claudia Croatto, Olivia Holmes, Josh Hunt, Owen Jones, Milla Laub, Freya Liepa, Mosten Lumsden, Rahni Matheson, Sienna Matheson, Sophie McKenzie, Luke Muir, Skye Munro, Trinity O’Keefe, Cooper Quaife, Gypsy Quaife, Miah Roberts, Zac Sherar, and William Simmons.

Opening day, Thursday, saw 15 swimmers competing, with six returning for the finals that night, and the team leaving with three medals: two gold and a bronze and some happy swimmers experiencing a return to the big event stage.

On Friday morning, 14 swimmers entered, with five swimmers qualifying to compete in the finals at night, with a gold and silver heading home with the SGB crew.

Saturday, day three of racing, did not slow the SGB team. Twelve swimmers dove into the pool, with five going on to race in the finals that night. Silver and bronze came home with the team and some fingernail touches from the medals for several others.

Sunday saw 17 swimmers at the pool, with it being a night for the women in the finals, with six of the girls making it, some in their first finals experience.

There were some very close races and several races came down to the millisecond. For those at home, we loved the smiling faces on the scenes as we cheered you along. Silver was the only medal, but several 2-4 second PBs and two national qualification times meant for a lot of celebration.

Monday, the last day of the meet, did not slow down the SBG crew, with 13 entering events and several making it to the finals. The team wound up the meet in style with some fantastic swims and still smiling faces in the finals Monday night.

The event was broadcast on Swim TV, meaning family and friends at home who were unable to make it down could watch and cheer their swimmers on.

We may not have been there on the sidelines but there were plenty of SGB families yelling at their TVs over the weekend.

Several swimmers managed to acquire national times and will be heading to Adelaide in April for the national championships. Well done to Trinity O’Keefe, Milla Laub, Rahni Matheson, Mostyn Lumsden, Sienna Matheson Sophie McKenzie and Skye Munro. Olivia Holmes and Zac Sherar (who can swim at national events until their 13th birthday) also managed a national time.

Finalists

Max Brocklesby, 200m freestyle, 9th 100m butterfly.

Claudia Croatto, 7th 100m breaststroke, 8th 200 breaststroke.

Olivia Holmes 3rd 200m butterfly, 1st 100m freestyle, 6th 100m breaststroke, 3rd 50m freestyle, 2nd 200m individual medley, 2nd 100m backstroke, 3rd 100m butterfly, 1st 200m freestyle.

Milla Laub, 5th 50m backstroke, 5th 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly, 5th 50m freestyle.

Rahni Matheson 1st 100m breaststroke, 2nd 50m breaststroke, 1st 200 breaststroke, 6th 200m IM, 10th 100m backstroke.

Sienna Matheson, 5th 200m breaststroke, 8th 50m breaststroke, 4th 100 breaststroke.

Sophie McKenzie, 2nd 50m breaststroke, 5th 100m breaststroke, 7th 200m breaststroke.

Luke Muir 200m backstroke 10th.

Trinity O’Keefe, 6th 200 breaststroke, 5th 50m breaststroke, 5th 100m breaststroke.

Cooper Quaife 8th 200m butterfly.

Miah Roberts, 10th 100 backstroke.

Zac Sherar 7th 100m breaststroke, 5th 200m freestyle, 2nd 200 breaststroke, 9th 400 freestyle, 3rd 100m freestyle.