BACK IN BLUE: NSW take out title in Origin race
MASTERS SWIMMING: It may have been slightly closer than what it was on the football field, but NSW triumphed again over Queensland in the Yamba Pool in their own annual version of State of Origin.
The event was held as part of the 15th Clarence River Masters Swim Carnival, held over the weekend at Yamba Community Pool.
A hundred swimmers representing 22 Masters Swim Clubs travelled from The Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Kiama, Manly, Ryde, numerous Sydney Clubs, the Hunter region, Central Coast, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
The tightly scheduled two-day carnival held events with swimmers distributed into heats according to their age group and seeded swim times; the individual goal being to improve on personal best times. Swims were held in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, individual medleys and relays from 25 metre sprints to the longer 400 metre races with swimmers aged 27 to 83.
The main event, unique to this club, is the fiercely contested State of Origin Relay freestyle race. Teams of eight are selected from individual times from the 50m event.
Much examination and careful scrutiny by Clarence River Masters' handicapper David Abrahams ensures an even match between the two teams, NSW and Queensland.
As always, Abrahams delivered an even race by allocating a 38-second start to Queensland.
At one stage Queensland was a whole two laps ahead but as the NSW swimmers felt the pressure, their final swimmer, Pascal Blanquer, brought the Blues home within a second to loud raucous cheers.
The weekend came to an end with the Presentation Dinner at Yamba Golf and Country Club and the visiting members could not wait to tell others of their weekend.
"Wow, what a great weekend I have had, Clarence River Masters are the nicest people! I will be going home to tell everyone at our Club to come next year! I have made so many new friends,” said first- time entrant and lone traveller Lorraine O'Reilly, representing Brisbane Southside Masters.
Peter Kaupert from Warringah Masters also took the microphone at the presentation dinner to thank the carnival organisers.
"This is the best organised carnival that improves year after year, don't change a thing, it's why we keep coming back,” he said.
Club president Gai Pritchett said the carnival could not have been run without its sponsors, and club members and volunteers who helped make the weekend a success.