Swimmers contest titles

SWIMMERS from across the Darling Downs will gather at Stanthorpe this weekend to compete for a place at the Queensland State Sprints next month.

With about 230 swimmers expected at the Darling Downs Country Championship, Stanthorpe swimming coach Gail Smail expects competition to be fierce.

"Stanthorpe has 44 swimmers nominated, many who will be attending their first country championships," Smail said.

"There are 70 events on the program, with teams attending from Warwick, Goondiwindi, Roma, St George, Texas, Allora, Gatton, Miles, Chinchilla, Pittsworth and Dalby."

The 2011 titles were cancelled because of the floods.

Tomorrow's event will be the first of its kind held at Stanthorpe and is restricted to swimmers from Darling Downs country clubs.

Smail said a lot of preparation had gone into hosting the event, including the hours of training simmers completed in a bid to reach the state sprints.

"For many of the younger swimmers competing at their first major meet, it will be more the experience and improvement in times," she said.

Along with coaching her own team, Smail has been sharing her wisdom with swimmers from Warwick and Allora during morning squad sessions.

She said her squad members had prepared well and were looking forward to hosting the event.

"It is a privilege for the Stanthorpe Swimming Club to be able to host the event as normally it is held at one of the western area clubs," she said.

"The carnival will be followed on Sunday with a development coaching clinic for carnival swimmers who are trying to achieve a National Junior Excellence (JX) time.

"These times allow the children to aim for national level times and clinics are run throughout the season to assist swimmers achieve their goals."

The carnival kicks of tomorrow with warm-up at 8.15am. Racing starts at 9.30am.

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