Year 7 student Jenny, Room 6 participated in the South Island’s largest swim meet, winning three medals.
All my training was coming down to this long-awaited event. I had participated in other swim meets during my years of swimming in Bangkok, Thailand, but this was my first trip to a big meet — the biggest in the South Island — where I couldn’t go home to my own bed every night. With equal parts excitement and dread, I boarded the early bus with my Wharenui Swim Club teammates, coaches, and our chaperones on Friday 2nd June.
Five hours and a lunch stop in Timaru later, we finally arrived in Dunedin for the 34th Annual Neptune Queen’s Birthday Swim Meet. Our club has swimmers in it from about 10 years old all the way up to 21 years old. We all compete in different age groups. I compete in the 11-12 year age group since I’m 11.
Luckily we had a few minutes to drop our bags at the Otago Boy’s High School hostel before racing over to the pool for our warm up and first races. The hostel was a bit cold, but I was relieved that it wasn’t too gross even though boys normally live there. It was lucky that they were on holiday.
I was quite nervous as I wanted to do well. It was about a 5-minute walk from the hostel to the pool and so we were able to walk there. On Friday afternoon I competed in my first race, the 100m backstroke. After all the heats I eventually placed 3rd. It was a competitive race because even though you come first in the heat you’re in, there might be other fast swimmers your age in different heats so you have to try your best. It was very late when we got back to the hostel and after we ate and got settled to bed it was about 10.00 p.m. All night I couldn’t sleep properly because the hostel was a bit chilly (and probably because I was thinking about the next races).
The next morning I was really tired when we woke up at 6.00 a.m., which was very early for me. On Saturday morning I swam the 100m individual medley, in which I came 9th. In the afternoon I was feeling better when I swam the 100m freestyle and the 50 backstroke and placed 5th and 4th. I got personal best times in all of my races and I was pretty proud of that, but in the end, it wasn’t my best day of the swim meet.
Sunday 4th June was the last day of the swim meet and the day we had to go back home. I was very nervous about my events but delighted that I would get to go home for a good rest (and my nice comfy, warm bed).
I was also sad at the same time because it was the last day of the swim meet and had the feeling that I wanted to try my best and not regret swimming at this competition.
On Sunday morning I swam 200m freestyle and placed 7th and then I swam the 100m butterfly and I placed 2nd and was very pleased with my time.
It kept getting better for me. In the afternoon I swam the 50m butterfly, my main event and placed 1st with a gold medal! My time was 32.64 seconds, which was a second personal best for me and only about 0.6 second off the Canterbury record.
As I think back on my experience, I don’t regret going to Dunedin. I learned a lot about how to succeed at a huge swim meet with a lot of talented swimmers. I achieved many personal bests and medals and I was very satisfied when I came home.
By Joan Green