Thanks for the Memories
Our last club night was also a night of farewells as 3 of our older swimmers leave the club to pursue their tertiary education. Luke Kelly, Eddie Neill and Ellie Rukuwai have all made huge contributions to the club and will be sadly missed, but we all wish them well for the future! (Unfortunately Luke couldn't make the club night).
Luke as been the quiet achiever of the club. He joined Nelson South approximately 5 years ago and has been a national swimmer and finalist during this time. But it is in the sea swims and open water events that Luke has really excelled. Last year he won the Port Nelson Sea Swim series and finished 2nd overall in the 15-19 year age group in the NZ Ocean Sea Swim Series (national series). This year he swam the Port Nelson Sea Swim series without a wetsuit - as training for the SNZ Open Water Championships (10km swim at Taupo). In a remarkable race, Luke finished 5th overall in what was his first 10km swim and narrowly missed securing a spot in the NZ team which will compete at the World Junior Open Water Championships. Luke will be studying engineering in Christchurch but has not given up swimming. He's recently transferred to Wharanui Swim Club so we can look forward to cheering Luke when he swims at Opens in March. (Perhaps you can sneak the Nelson South cap on Luke?)
Eddie! What to say about Eddie? An "enigma" is described as "a person of puzzling or contradictory character" and I think this is a good way to describe Eddie. Most of us, but certainly the older swimmers and families will all have "an Eddie story" or two to recount - many of which would begin along the lines of "remember when Eddie's goggles came off on the first length of the 1500m"; "remember when Eddie didn't get to marshalling but managed to get a spot in the last heat"; "remember when...." - all involving mishaps of some description, yet when he got on those blocks and dived in for a race, we were all mesmerized by his beautiful swimming. He always made swimming look so easy as he effortlessly moved through the water, setting records and making finals all the while. Eddie is down in Dunedin studying Health Sciences (Med School) and we wish him all the best (and not too much couch-burning!).
And last, but certainly not least, we farewelled Ellie. Ellie has been a member of Nelson South for 10 years, joining the club when Jos Pattison was Head Coach. Ellie went on to swim for the club and the region at a national level from Juniors to NAGs to Opens every year since 2009 and won national medals at every event she attended. Best known as a breaststroker, Ellie was amazing and proficient across all strokes and was another mesmerizing swimmer in the pool who made it all look so easy! She leaves behind a legacy of club and regional records and has her name engraved on all of the female trophies in the region including the highly sought after Marie Saul Trophy for best regional all-round swimmer. Ellie also made a huge contribution to the club as a junior coach and mentor. She was a friendly face for all our young swimmers who looked up to and admired her - and she will definitely be missed in the pool and on the pooldeck. Ellie is now in Wellington studying Forensic Science.
So thanks for being part of our club - its been a fantastic time and whilst it feels a little like the end of an era, you leave us with lifelong friends and so many lasting memories! And you're welcome back in the pool anytime :-)
A huge thank you to Georgie and Matai for organising the presentation, cake and cards at the pool. It was great to see the next generation of the club's swimmers step up to take on leadership roles :-)