Bennett, clubmates ‘step up’ at event

Team work . . . Hokonui Aquatics swimmers (from left) Marlin Bennett, Bryan Bennett, coach Mariano Garcia Nani, Roxanne Le Roux and Joel Wilson get ready for the relay race at the New Zealand Short Course Championships in Auckland recently. PHOTO: MEAGAN MCCABE

Whether it is one length of 50m or two lengths of 25m, freestyle Marlin Bennett has the golden touch.

Recently the Hokonui Aquatics swimmer finished first in 50m freestyle at the New Zealand Short Course Swimming Championships in Auckland.

Earlier this year he also finished first in the 50m freestyle event at the Swimming New Zealand national age group championships, which was a long-course event.

Coach Mariano Garcia Nani said Marlin (13), competing in the 12-and-13-year-old age group, also finished third in the 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke at the recent event.

‘‘He broke the Southland record for these three races.

‘‘He was one second off the national record in the 50 free and he’s still 13 years old.’’

Bryan Bennett (16), Roxanne Le Roux (17) and Joel Wilson (14) also attended the event and swam well but were not placed.

‘‘The other three improved all their times and ended [up] in the top 15 of the country.’’

It was a wonderful environment to compete in, as there were swimmers who had attended the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, he said.

‘‘In that environment they really stepped up.’’

The Hokonui swimmers were part of the Southland team, but were the only ones in the squad who could enter the club team event, which required four swimmers.

The four entered the 100m freestyle open relay and came 14th out of 19.

‘‘The experience was amazing and we managed to beat five big clubs.’’

The other clubs had another team of swimmers to enter in the 100m medley, but the Hokonui four also lined up for that race and ended up being placed 21st out of 22 teams.