Country’s best in Sale

SOME of the state’s best swimmers will be heading to Sale this weekend to contest the Victorian Country Championships.

The event, at the Lex Glover Regional Aquatic Complex, will be begin on Friday and conclude Sunday with heats beginning from 9am with finals from 3.30pm Friday and Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.

Gippsland Swimming president Jackie Madden looked forward to the opportunity to host the championships in Gippsland.

“It is terrific to have an opportunity to showcase the Gippsland region to the many visitors who will travel from all areas of the state and it is also a nice change for our swimmers to compete in this championship event at ‘home’,” she said.

“The championships are serious competition, yet a lot of fun for all involved. Chants, cheering and team spirit add to the excitement and atmosphere.

“Many hours of work by the Gippsland Swimming committee have gone into preparing for this prestigious event and our Gippsland swim clubs will all have a hand in staging the competition over the weekend.”

Thirty-five swim clubs from across Victoria and the border areas of South Australia and New South Wales will make the trip to Sale. Seven Gippsland clubs, Sale, Traralgon, Warragul, East Gippsland Water Dragons (Bairnsdale), Moe, Morwell and South Gippsland Bass, will be competing.

More than 600 swimmers have entered the competition, including elite swimmers who are national championship medallists and members of the Gippsland Academy of Sport, and current members of Victorian and country district teams and development squads.

Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti will host a civic reception at the Aqua Energy Caf at the Lex Glover Regional Aquatics Complex on Thursday evening to officially welcome Swimming Victoria and Gippsland Swimming executives and officials, dignitaries from major sponsors and representatives from the competing clubs.

Cr Rossetti was delighted that the championships have returned to Sale.

“On behalf of council, I warmly welcome the swimmers and their supporters from across Victoria to Wellington Shire.

“It gives council great pleasure to host major sporting events such as this at our excellent facilities.

“Gippsland Swimming does a marvellous job planning and organising their events. They frequently advocate for championships to be held in Sale and we are very proud that the Lex Glover Regional Aquatics Complex at Aqua Energy is held in such high regard.

“I wish all the competitors the very best of luck and trust you enjoy your time in Wellington.”

Prior to the championships beginning on Friday at 9am, the 35 clubs will parade around the pool and a group of swimmer representatives from the seven Gippsland clubs will read the athlete’s oath.

From 3pm, before the first finals session, the RAAF Roulettes elite formation aerobatic display team will showcase their flying skills with a 10 minute display in the skies above the pool.

Following this the Swimming Victoria president Daniel Burger, Cr Scott Rossetti and Madden will welcome all to the event before the mayor will officially open the championships.