The heavens opened and rain fell in abundance on the Swimming New England and North West Speedo Sprints area heats at Gunnedah on Saturday morning.
After years of drought, no one was complaining as the carnival went ahead in showery conditions and district swimmers competed for a place at the Swimming NSW Speedo Sprints finals in Sydney.
Swimming Gunnedah will send a team of 11 youngsters to the finals on February 29 at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, after they finished in the top four of the district heats.
The championships are contested in the 8-13 years division over 50 metres with the first four in each age group advancing to the grand final in Sydney.
Nine-year-old Jacob Smith competed strongly to claim first place in the 50m butterfly, with second place in freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke, where he clipped five seconds from his best time.
Competing in the eight years division, Alexis Whitton continued her good form, shaving five seconds from her entry time to claim gold in the 50m butterfly. She also won the 50m breaststroke and picked up silvers in freestyle and backstroke.
Baxter Knapman is also off to Sydney after winning the nine years 50m breaststroke in an improved time. He will also compete in backstroke, after finishing third behind club mate Jacob Smith.
In his last year at Speedo Sprints, Brodie Coombs has hit his straps and will represent the area and his club in the 13 years 50m fly where he finished second. He will also compete in freestyle and breaststroke after coming third at the area titles.
Felicity Gough won a place in the team with a strong win and a personal best time of 51:48 seconds in the nine years 50m breaststroke, while 10-year-old Audrey Hannaford will contest the 50m butterfly after finishing second in her home pool. She will also compete in the breaststroke and backstroke after swimming into third place at the heats, while club mate Dana Campbell made it into the team with second place and a personal best in freestyle, and a close fourth in breaststroke in three second improvement.
Thirteen-year-old Amelia Lush will compete for the last time at Speedo Sprints as she moves into a higher age group She finished second in butterfly, fourth in freestyle and third in backstroke.
Savannah Lyons competed in the tough 12 years division, for fourth place and an improved time in freestyle and third place in backstroke just ahead of Scout Newbery who made it through in this event and backstroke.
Zach Akinyemi will gain valuable experience at the Sydney Olympic pool after nailing a berth in the 10 years 50m breaststroke, while Lachlan Davey improved his time and finished third in the 11 years breaststroke to win a place win the team.
Coach John Hickey was pleased with his squad's performance under trying conditions and now has three weeks to prepare them for the experience of competing at the Sydney 2000 pool.