Otters set for national stage

Swimmers from left: Kelvin, Dion, Scott, Andrew, Keith, Henry, Daniel. Back from left: Bridget (Coach), Bronwyn (Swimmer), James (Coach). 396952 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Eight members of the Dandenong Oasis Otters Swimming Club are set to compete on the national stage this month on the Gold Coast.

The Australian Age and multiclass age championships start on 6 April and run through until 14 April, with those meets followed by the Australian Open Championships on 17-20 April.

With just 50 swimmers within the Otters, about one in six swimmers will compete, a staggering ratio for a small, family-driven club.

“It’s a fantastic result of all the hard training the kids have put in and an absolute credit to the coaches who have worked really hard to get them there,” president Brian Atkinson said.

“Overarching all of that is the effort put in by the families and the parents.

“The swimmers have put in a huge effort and the coaches have done right by them, and families back them up.”

The Otters’ national squad trains at least six times per week, with a seventh day of dry land training occasionally added to the schedule on top of stroke development, time-cycle and distance training.

The club encourages swimmers to compete at least once per month, with the most recent high-profile meet being the State Championships in February.

Qualification for the national meet, however, was dependent on swimmers meeting a qualifying time, rather than placing at an individual event.

“(Racing) gets them used to the idea of competing against other clubs and larger environments, which is good for their mental strength so they aren’t psyched out by the opposition,” Atkinson said.

“And because they’re registered events, they can see their progress as they go.

“Seeing some of their eyes light up when they swim a personal best is always fantastic to see because it proves to themselves they can better their performance.”

While emphasising that development and enjoyment are key focuses, several swimmers’ personal bests, proportionate to qualifying time, are expected to net the club positive results.

The following swimmers, ranging in age from 14-25 have all qualified for at least one event: Scott Robinson, Dion Gordon, Daniel Atkinson, Henry Han, Bronwyn Zheng, Georgia Hyde, Keith Han, Andrew Dinh, and Kelvin Tranh.

Here’s how the team shapes up:

Scott Robinson: 200m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 50m butterfly, 800m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m individual medley (IM), 200m IM.

Dion Gordon: 200m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle.

Daniel Atkinson: 200m butterfly, 400m IM.

Henry Han: 100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke.

Georgia Hyde: 50m butterfly.

Bronwyn Zheng: 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly.

Andrew Dinh: 100m breaststroke, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 200 IM, 50m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 400m freestyle.

Kelvin Tran: 400m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 50m breaststroke, 100m backstroke, 200m IM, 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke.

50m medley team: Keith Han, Scott Robinson, Dion Gordon, Daniel Atkinson.