Yabbies win blue ribbon event at Nationals

The fastest men over 300 metres in the nation: The Cobar Yabbies Senior Men’s Swimming Club relay team of Matt Harland, Cameron van Bruegel, Ben Plush, Murray Harland, Stuart Small and Owen Small won the 6x50m Scratch Relay title at the National AIF Swimming Carnival in Melbourne on Saturday. Photo contributed

The Cobar Yabbies Senior Men’s Swimming Club relay team won the blue ribbon event at this year’s National AIF Swimming Carnival at Noble Park in Melbourne on Saturday.

Matt Harland, Murray Harland, Cameron van Breugel, Ben Plush, Stuart Small and Owen Small put in an impressive performance to win the 6 x 50m Scratch Relay narrowly ahead of Southport.

It’s the Cobar club’s second win of this event with a Yabbies team (which also included the two Harlands) previously winning the six man title in 2009 at the Nationals in Albury.

Since 2000, Cobar is the only country club to have won this event.

The annual carnival attracted 280 swimmers this year and the Yabbies finished second overall in the Men’s Point Score and 5th in the Overall Point Score tally.

The Cobar team of 22 swimmers was bolstered by former club members Steve Howell, Rob Dickerson, Wayne Rice, Trevor Menadue, Owen Small and Stuart Small who reunited with the Yabbies for the event.

Owen Small won his 40-44 years 50m Freestyle swim, was second in 50m Open Backstroke and also second in 50m Open Butterfly.

Stuart Small was first in the 45-49 years 50m Freestyle and first in the Open 50m Backstroke, as well as fourth in 50m Butterfly and fifth in 50m Breaststroke.

Van Breugel finished first in the 25-29 years Freestyle swim with Matt Harland in second place. Van Bruegel also placed 4th in the Open 50m Breaststroke event.

In the Men’s 50 metres Freestyle Championship events Murray Harland placed third in the 50-54 years; Bob Clark was 4th in his 70-74 years race; and Bill Fugar finished 4th in 60-64 years.

Fugar won the 50m Freestyle Handicap event with Shane Josephson 3rd and Stephen Clark placed 5th while Howell finished 5th in the 30m Freestyle Handicap swim.

At the club’s competition swim last Tuesday the same faces kept popping up on the winners’ podium.

Jamie Roberts featured in the 30m and 100m events; Stephen Clark placed in the 30m and 100m swims; while Bill Fugar and Shane Josephson both made the podium twice.

Roberts was well out in front in the 30 metres handicapped freestyle swim to finish within 0.03 seconds of his nominated time.

He won from Cameron van Breugel and Stephen Clark who both had times of 0.12 seconds off their nominated times.

Clark won the 50m swim with just 0.19 seconds off his nominated time to relegate Andrew Watts (0.47) into second place and Fugar (0.50) was third. Fugar, with 0.34 seconds off his nominated time just pipped Josephson (0.35) for first place honours in the 100m swim while Clark and Roberts (both with 0.75) tied for third place.