File photo.

SINCE the last column, the first of the winter series SBS Wayne Evans Memorial meets and the Neptune Queen’s Birthday meet have been held.

The SBS Wayne Evans Memorial meet only attracted two out-of-region swimmers from Otago — Kaylee Gibbs, from Zenith, and Lily McGrath, from Taieri.

This weekend’s second series meet sees an increase in visitor numbers with 21 swimmers from Otago and  Canterbury, although the visitor from Jasi in Christchurch is former Murihiku swimmer Anita White, who has recently moved to Christchurch.

Anita is the younger sister of Kathy and Martina who both swam for Murihiku and
represented Southland at national level.

Local swimmers missing from this weekend’s meet will be Olivia Biggar (Southland Girls’ High School), Amie Prat, Brooke Anderson (Central Southland College), Rhianna Short, Regan Cross, Sean Cross, Ella Dougherty, Vivienne Shaw, Tamaki Fukui (James Hargest College) and Jackson Herrick (Southland Boys’ High School) who will be representing their schools at the South Island Secondary School Champs in Timaru.

This is a rare opportunity for these swimmers to represent their schools as usually they are representing their swimming clubs.

A special mention must be made of Dylan Elstob, from Gore, who made his first appearance at a swim meet and will be racing again this weekend.

Dylan is a member of a new squad which coach Mariano Garcia-Nani has set up in Gore for
para athletes.

There are about five members in this squad with Dylan being the first to take the plunge into racing. This is a great initiative being shown by the Hokonui Club and hopefully the rest of the squad will join in with racing in the near future.

Joseph Koroiadi is continuing to go from strength to strength with his swimming. At the first Winter Series meet, he won all six of his races, bettering his entry times in all of them.

At the Neptune Queen’s Birthday meet, he again had a clean sweep of all seven of his events.

Joseph then went on to win the Skins event for his age group.

While some swimmers try to swim this event tactically to conserve energy, Joseph just went out and smashed every leg to totally dominate his opposition.

The final acknowledgement goes to Mary McFarlane who was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to swimming.

Mary has been a stalwart of swimming in Otago and national levels for more than 50 years.

It has been a privilege to have officiated with Mary throughout the years and she kept this news quiet over Queen’s Birthday Weekend while we were officiating at the Neptune Meet.