The 53rd annual Shine Shield got underway on Wednesday evening with more than 150 swimmers from Yass, Jugiong, Boorowa, Harden and Binalong gathering at the Yass pool to compete.
In the end, it was Jugiong that took a commanding lead with 1139 points, closely followed by Binalong on 1083, Harden on 923, Yass on 667, and Boorowa on 639.
Organisers could hardly have asked for a more idyllic evening for the competition. The sun shone bright and patrons flocked eagerly to the pool to watch the competitors test their skills against each other.
Event organiser Mick Wilkinson said he was pleased with the turnout and that numbers for the competition had remained steady for quite a few years.
“It’s a good turnout for the first carnival for 2019,” Wilkinson said.
“It’s pretty comparable to other years, which is good to see. Lots of young kids coming out for their first carnival, and it’s a good opportunity for other kids to gear up for their swimming carnivals, which start in February.”
Events such as the Shine Shield, Wilkinson said, gave rural kids a great opportunity to develop and test their skills in a competitive but friendly environment.
“The whole idea behind the Shine Shield was to bring communities together,” he said.
“Back when it started, there wasn’t much for kids to do, so swimming was a great way for them to do something over the school holidays.
“It’s a great opportunity to practise their skills, even just to participate and have fun or if they are gearing up and looking at competing at their school carnivals and southwestern district carnivals.”
Upon the conclusion of the competition at Yass, Wilkinson said that it had been a “fantastic” start to the series. “It was great to see so many young swimmers competing in their first carnival and the events having multiple heats.”
The next event in the Shine Shield series will be held in Boorowa this Saturday, January 12.
Although Yass fell behind after the first event, Wilkinson added that he expected the scores to draw closer as the series went on.