File photo.

LAST weekend featured the Southland Long Course Swimming Championships being held at Splash Palace in Invercargill.

With a total of 64 swimmers entered, it was a far cry from only a few short years ago when the entire south-side seating was filled with swimmers waiting for their events.

The champs are now only five sessions long and the sessions only average about 1.5 down from seven sessions which would last three or four hours. This is a sad reflection on the rapidly decreasing number of competitive swimmers in the region.

While other sports can look to having shorter formats, such as rugby sevens and 3×3 basketball, swimming struggles to have a shorter format for its competitions. To many, swimming is seen as a sport which requires too much dedication and commitment to training from a young age with early mornings and a very structured training regime.

However, as a parent who has had children involved in competitive swimming for the past 20 years, I can only sing the praises of the life skills which swimming develops in these young people.

Last weekend two local swimmers had a clean sweep of all their events. Joseph Koroiadi (14), of Murihiku, won all five of his events, again showing the promise he has as a swimmer. It is not surprising he is in the Swimming New Zealand development programme.

The other was Amelia Black (14), of Waverley, who won all of her eight events. Amelia is going from strength to strength at the moment.

Tupufia Lafoga (9), also of Waverley, was only denied a clean sweep of his seven events by a disqualification in the 200m breaststroke.

A disqualification also denied one of the few visiting swimmers from having a clean sweep when Neo Salomonsson (11), of Kiwi Swimming Club in Dunedin, was disqualified in the 50m butterfly. Salomonsson did make up for this somewhat when he set an Otago age group record later in the meet.

Even with the low entry numbers, there was still some very close racing during the weekend. On Friday night, at the distance session, Anita White and Sualo Lafoga raced it out for the 800m freestyle. They couldn’t be separated at the touch — both logging times of 10min 35.17sec.Running sportsJordan Ανδρικά • Summer SALE έως -50%