Lachlan Blake placed 3rd in the 100m butterfly
Lachlan Blake placed 3rd in the 100m butterfly Rebecca Devine GLA280119SWIM

GALLERY: Swimmers shine in 40th McDonald's Harbour meet

SWIMMING: Gladstone Gladiators have finished third behind Rockhampton clubs Rocky City and Caribeae in the pool at the 40th McDonald's Harbour City Long Course Preparation Meet.

As the swimmers tumbled, so did the records in a display of pure athleticism with 11 female and six male records broken over the weekend.

Gladstone Gladiator Kane Martin, took out the 13-year boy's 50m backstroke record in a time of 32.16sec previously held by a Bundaberg swimmer since 2016.

Kane also collected the 13-year boy's Age Champion as did Reagan Copsey for the nine-years girl's category.

Runner-up Age Champions included Annabel Cox 10, Kai Devine 11, Stephanie Elliott 14, Federica Tiboni and Clara Furness in a points tie for the 15-years girls.

Head coach Tom Fronek was delighted with his squad.

"It was good to see our team support each other both when they were swimming well and not so well," he said.

"The standard of racing over the weekend has been quite high and I was proud to watch them cheer each other on to get though their workload."

One of the newest to the Gladstone Gladiators family is eight-year-old Grace Wright who joined the club late last year.

"My favourite race is the backstroke and I did a personal best in the 25m and tried the 50m for the first time ever and came sixth," she said.

"I train with Terry Fellows three afternoons a week and he is really helpful and makes training fun."

Grace is following in the footsteps of her mum Corinne, who was a competitive Gladiator swimmer as a youngster.

"I think it's a fantastic sport to be involved in both for fitness and personal development," she said.

"It is such a great family environment here and coaches Tom and Terry make it fun for the kids while still improving their form and fitness.

"It is awesome to come back to the club that gave me so much when I was young and now my daughter can have that same experience."

Father and daughter, Richard and Clara Furness are both active competitors in the club with Richard competing at a representative level in his youth and currently holding a record in the masters 50m backstroke and Clara following suite by recently qualifying for Nationals in the 15-year girl's 200m freestyle.

"I think it's pretty cool that dad still races and he is the oldest competitor here this weekend," Clara said.

Mark Que and his two sons Cooper 11 and Jordie 8 were also in racing form on the weekend with Jordie claiming seven personal-best times from seven races.

Mark was also a Gladiator in his youth and qualified at a national level for various distances in the freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke events.

"It's fantastic to see my boys enjoying swimming and doing well at a sport that I love and was such a big part of my childhood," he said.

"My parents were my biggest supporters and always cheered the loudest when I raced and now they are doing the same for their grand kids which is pretty special."

Mark and Richard teamed up with Jake Devine 15 and Lachlan Blake 16 in the Open Men 4x50m freestyle relay to take out the gold.

Gladiators showed its depth by also taking out gold in the Open Women and the 13-and-under girl's and 13-and-under boy's relays.

Great racing and sportsmanship was on display from all visiting clubs in attendance and the Gladstone Swimming Club is appreciative of their continued support.

Gladstone Gladiators are looking to carry their form into the McDonald's State Sprint Championships in Brisbane in mid-February.


More history and family connections with the Harbour City meet is on the pool deck among the referees.

Gladstone Swimming Club life member, Wendy Ryan has attended all but one Harbour City in the past 40 years.

Wendy's father, John Allen, was instrumental in resurrecting swimming in Gladstone when the ailing Gladstone Amateurs Swimming Club was about to fold.

Wendy recalled how all the swimming clubs used to swim at the 50m pool, but then the decision was made that it should be 'one club - one pool' and Wests moved over to where they are now at the John Dahl Pool near the duck ponds.

"Dad came in and formed the Gladstone Gladiators Swimming Club shortly after this decision and then not long after, he introduced the Harbour City Swimming Carnival; that was 40 years ago," Wendy said.

"Harbour City has traditionally been held over two and a half days on the Australia Day weekend.

"It used to be heats and finals, but we would be here until all hours so about 10 years ago, it changed to timed finals, which is how most meets are run these days."

It has run every year in the past 40 years except in 2013 when the rain from Cyclone Oswald flooded roads across Queensland making it unsafe and impossible to travel.

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