Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Page Electorate: New South Wales Country Championships, Casino Dance Academy
I'd like to recognise swimmers from my community who recently competed at the NSW Country Championships. Athletes from Alstonville, Lismore Workers, Trinity, Casino and Grafton swimming clubs all competed in Sydney. Those from Alstonville Swimming Club included Thomas Bowker, Madeline Ewing, Gemma Johnson, Alastair Miller, Izzie Rowe, Angus Smyth, Patrick Thompson, Hamish Walker and Lachlan Walker. Special congratulations to Lachlan, who received two first-place and four second-place medals and one third-place medal. He was also named Age Champion and set open records in the 200m individual medley and the 400m individual medley, so congratulations to Lachlan. Angus and Madeline also brought home bronze and silver medals.
Athletes from Lismore Workers Swim Club were Aidan Arnison, McKinley Arnison, Ben Auckram, Michael Bullpitt, William Bullpitt, Jacqueline Button, Indigo Creighton, Zac Landrigan and Andrea Thomson. Ben, McKinley, Andrea, William and Indigo all earned themselves top 10 finishes in a number of events.
Athletes from Trinity Swim Club were Millie Edwards-Bradshaw, Zoe Farmer, Lilly Geddes, Sarah Green, Mitchell Hickey, Ella Jones, Harry Kilburn, Beth Lockwood, Sophie Mayes, Finn Bengelly, Piper Phillips, Sylas Phillips, Bella Teale, Layci Teale and Niquola White. Silas showed his skill in backstroke with gold medals in the 14-years 200 metres and 100 metres. Finn also won his division of the 100-meter backstroke. Ella, Zoe, Mitchell, Bella and Millie all earned place medals. Congratulations to all of them.
Athletes from Casino Swimming Club were Ellie Bower, Hayden Comerford, Hayden Griffin, Elle Hannigan, Billy McGrath, Brieanna Parker, Belle Wall and Clayton Wilkinson. Congratulations to Hayden, who earned a top-10 finish in the 100-metre freestyle finals.
Athletes from Grafton Swimming Club were Jack Leeson and Jamie Plunkett. Jack and Jamie both placed in the top 10 in all their races—a great achievement.
Congratulations to all these young swimmers from our community. You did us proud.
I'd also like to acknowledge the Casino Dance Academy, who recently celebrated their 50th year in our community. Maryann Bentley founded the academy in 1970 and it is still going strong today. Maryann was the youngest of six children and was the only girl. She found her passion for dancing through her mother, Jean, and her grandmother Flo Hollyman, who taught Highland dancing. From a very young age, all Maryann wanted to do was start her own dance studio. When she left school, Maryann worked with Nela Pinkerton, at the very well known Pinkertons jewellers, and Nela was kind enough to give Maryann time off, which allowed her to open the dance studio.
Over the years, there have been some very successful students who have gone on to become professional dancers, most notably Matthew Trent from Kyogle, who become a principal artist with the Australian Ballet, one of the highest positions someone can get to in the industry.
Maryann's daughter Renae Chelman is now continuing with the next generation of Casino Dance Academy students, including her daughter Olive, which makes four generations at the studio. I congratulate them and the whole team.