File photo.

LAST weekend saw a team of Southland swimmers take part in the Makos Junior Festival in Dunedin.

Makos was the regional name for the South Island and the festival replaced the junior championships.

The move away from a championship to a festival was made to increase the numbers who could take part and to take the emphasis away from a narrow focus to broaden the swimmers’ base.

Zaedyn Hollands (10), of the Bluff Swimming Club, had a successful festival, winning the 100m individual medley, 50m backstroke, 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and the 50m freestyle kick, as well as seconds in the 100m and 200m backstroke.

Another swimmer to take out multiple events was Marlin Bennett (12), of the Hokonui Swimming Club, winning the 50m backstroke and the 50m and 100m freestyle and placing third in the 50m freestyle kick.

The other swimmer to come first was Olivia Johnson (11), of the Murihiku Swimming Club, who won the 50m backstroke.

Second placegetters were: Isaac Elder (11), of the Central Southland Swimming Club, 50m freestyle kick; Ashley Craig (11), of the Hokonui Swimming Club, 50m breaststroke; and Alesana Lafoga (11), of the Waverley Swimming Club, 200m backstroke.

Third placegetters were: Bertil Feng (12), of Murihiku, 50m breaststoke; Elsie Turrell (11), of the Orca Swimming Club, 200m Backstroke; and Alesana Lafoga (11), 100m breaststroke.

The Hokonui Swimming Club 12-and-under boys 200m freestyle relay team of Joel Wilson, Wyatt Jamieson, Ashley Craig and Marlin Bennett, took out what was reported to be an exciting race.

This weekend will see Swimming Southland hosting the South Island Long Course Championships at Splash Palace in Invercargill.

Former Southland swimmers Jacob Blomfield and Sophie Shallard would compete for the Neptune Swimming Club from Dunedin.

Three swimmers to look out for were Erika Fairweather (Neptune Swimming Club, Dunedin), Luan Grobbelaar (Kiwi West Swimming Club, Palmerston North) and Caitlin Deans (Neptune), who were chasing Olympic dreams.

Fairweather had already swum an Olympic qualifying time in the 400m freestyle, held 13 long course and 10 short course New Zealand age group records and was a world junior champion in the 200m freestyle.

She is only entered the 400m freestyle, so if you want to watch one of New Zealand’s leading swimmers in action, be at Splash Palace on Friday.

Grobbelaar, represented South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and he held four long course and one short course New Zealand age group records. He would swim his top event, the 200m breaststroke, on Saturday.

Deans held one New Zealand short course age group record. A distance freestyle swimmer, Deans had made a lot of progress this season to be within sight of an Olympic time.