Young athletes in the Pilbara have dived head-first into 2023 with a showstopping performance at the Western Australian Country Championships last weekend. After a two-year hiatus, the Hedland Amateur Swim Club reentered the competition at HBF Stadium with a bang. The competition was held in the Perth pool on January 6, 7 and 8 and included an array of swimming events including freestyle and medley relays and freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly swims. Some 432 swimmers from nine years of age upward and 36 clubs were entered from across regional WA. With eight swimmers entered and 40 total swims, Hedland walked away with an impressive 29 personal bests, three bronze medals and two silvers. Even more impressively, seven of those entered had never swum in a major state-wide competition before. Alana Jones, featured in eight events, achieved a personal best time in each race and was awarded three bronze medals for her efforts. Silver medals rained in for Leilani Palamutama and Lenci Kiliswa, the former smashing out four personal bests. 35-year-old Port Hedland swimmer Ryan Jones was the oldest entrant across the competition. Port Hedland was not the only Pilbara town featured in the championships. Karratha Amateur Swim Club was also entered, with fourteen swimmers and some impressive personal records across 85 swims. Paraburdoo’s Kieran Boatwright made the trip down as the town’s sole entrant in eight races, alongside a further seven from Tom Price who entered a total of 37 events. After their first championship of the new year, Pilbara swimmers are due next at the 2023 North West Carnival this March.