OB's swimmers making a splash!

By Daniel Gilbert | Posted: Tuesday May 17, 2022

Swimming is a brutal sport, it's out there for all to see.

The hundreds watching in the stands and on TV. The huge screen with your time in green or red showing everyone a fast or slower swim… there’s no team to hide behind.

The 2022 swim season is upon us, and the talented OBHS swim team have not disappointed with strong, courageous performances.

The season started off in February with Harry Summers participating in the South Island Secondary School Open Water Swimming Championships in Akaroa. Harry swam in the 750m event where he not only won in his age group but also overall. His efforts alone gave Otago Boys' High School 9th place in the South Island.

The National Age Group Championship was the first “in the pool” swimming on the timetable where Daniel Gilbert (Year 13) and Aleksandr Kivilev (Year 10) travelled to Wellington during the holidays. Qualification times are hard and the 50m long pool means racing can be physically demanding. New Zealand's qualification times are in line with the rest of the world so attending these National events is a huge achievement in itself.

Aleksandr, in his first National Championship, swam the 400m and 200m freestyle events coming 5th and 8th respectively.

Daniel swam the 1500m, an impressive 32 pool lengths coming in at 4th place. This event was followed by the 100m butterfly and the 50m fly where he achieved 9th place in both. The 200m fly was the last event and although coming first in the prelims, came in a respectable silver medal in the finals.

The National Division II Championship here at Moana Pool last week had many OBHS students competing. A massive 58 swim clubs from throughout NZ attended. Once again this is a qualifying meet so athletes had to be fast enough to enter each event. The OBHS students competing in the event were Neo Salomonsson (Year 9), Taka Sugiyama (Year 10), Harry Summers (Year 12), Eddie Wright (Year 13) and again, Aleksandr Kivilev and Daniel Gilbert.

Neo certainly didn’t fail to disappoint as the only Year 9 student. Over the five days that the competition proceeded, Neo competed in seven events and won three titles, 50m and 100m Backstroke and the 100m Butterfly. Other podium finishes included two silver medals in the 200m Backstroke and the 100m Individual Medley and a third place in the 100m Freestyle where he swam under one minute for the first time. A great feat that many athletes strive for.

Aleksandr also did very well competing in 5 individual events. His top placing was 2nd place in the 50m Butterfly and he went on to qualify for 3 more finals claiming 6th in the 100m Backstroke, 5th in the 100m Butterfly, and 4th in the 200m Butterfly. He claimed 9th place in the 50m Freestyle just missing out on the final event.

Taka also managed to get on the podium on multiple occasions in the seven individual events he swam in. He got one gold medal in the 200m Breaststroke event and went on to get 2nd in both of the breaststroke events. He also achieved a silver medal in the 50m Butterfly. Taka then proceeded to go on the podium yet again to receive a bronze medal for the 100m Individual Medley and qualified for 2 more finals claiming 5th in the 50m Freestyle and 8th in the 100m Freestyle.

Harry was the only Year 12 OBHS student at this event and swam in the hyper-competitive 16-18-year old age group. In the 5 individual races he entered, he qualified to compete in all the evening final events. His top placing was 4th in the 200m Freestyle, with also claiming 5th in the 400m freestyle and 50m Freestyle, as well as 7th in both the 50m Butterfly and 100m Butterfly.

Eddie succeeded in his freestyle event, the 200m reaching the podium for a bronze medal. He also achieved a great result in the 100m free final reaching 7th place.

Daniel, not new to this competition, continued his success from the previous year achieving four titles in the 50m/100m/400m and 800m freestyle events.

Overall, a very dominant performance from all of the boys with many podium finishes and an unprecedented amount of personal bests. Many national new qualifying times were met here, and Otago took out third place in New Zealand. Totally worth the time off from school!

From the early stages of this year's season, we have seen many memorable moments from our students, and with the great talent that we currently have, Otago Boys' are expected to flourish representing the school at the upcoming events, the Otago/South Island and NZ Secondary School Championships.