Talent pool runs deep as best swimmers show their wares
The NSW primary swimming and diving championships kicked off a huge year of sport for schools in the state. Glenn Cullen reports.
06 April 2023
Spending 10 hours in a car to get from Brewarrina to Sydney Olympic Park for the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association Swimming Championships perhaps wasn’t the most ideal preparation for Koesha Morris.
But you wouldn’t know it from the Luna Park-like smile of the Year 6 student from Brewarrina Central School – nor from her performances this week.
After previously making a three-and-a-half hour trek to Dubbo to qualify for the state championships, Koesha qualified for the final of the blue-ribbon 50 metres U/13 freestyle final and looked well placed for a podium finish midway through the race.
She tailed off a little in the back half to finish fourth, but it was still a remarkable effort from a girl who didn’t even consider herself a swimmer.
“Mostly I just run and do cross country,” she said. “I just decided to start swimming last year because my family was doing it.”
With the School Sport Unit streaming the two days of action at Olympic Park, Koesha’s friends and family were able to cheer her on – like thousands of others who tuned into the coverage.
The streaming initiative will continue throughout the year across a range of sports.
“It was such a wonderful two days of competition, and it was fantastic to be able to connect with parents, families and friends from around the state, country and globe via our streaming service,” said Peter Banks, Leader School Sport Unit for the Department of Education.
Multiple Olympic medallist Elka Whalan (nee Graham) joined the streaming commentary team for some expert insights as 1,500 students competed across 62 able-bodied and Multi Class events.
They were assisted by 120 staff and cheered on by around 3,000 spectators each day at the championships which showed off the best primary school swimmers from public, Catholic and Independent schools.
Four records were broken at the championships across the Multi Class and able-bodied classes.
Standouts from the public system included gold medallists Titus Teoh (Artarmon Public School) in the 8 years’ boys 50m freestyle; Leena Cho (Gordon West Public School) in the 10 years’ girls 50m freestyle; Clara Kim (Eastwood Public School) 8-10 years’ girls 50m breaststroke; Alex Baker (Wheeler Heights Public School) 13 years' boys 50m freestyle; Emmy Hill (Wheeler Heights Public School) 11 years' girls 50m butterfly; Brody Becker (Tuggerawong Public School) Multi Class 11-13 years’ boys 50m butterfly; and Michael Williams (John Purchase Public School) Multi Class 11-13 years’ boys 50m backstroke.
Then there was Cumnock Public School, which took out the Peter Dobson small schools 4x50 metre relay for the third year in a row.
Winning didn’t always have to mean standing atop the dais.
Wilsons Creek Public School in the Northern Rivers won through to the championships having placed first at local, district, zone and regional competitions in the small schools' 4x50 metre relay.
They then qualified for the state final – an outstanding effort from a school of just 23 students.
The team selected from this event will represent NSW at the School Sport Australia Championship, which will be hosted by NSW and held at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre in August.
A replay of the stream can be found here.