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Southland's swimming teams have been drubbed so regularly by Otago in recent years that the prospects of the 1958 team in its bid for the Sports Trust Shield couldnot be considered bright. After suffering the most crushing defeat on record last season, the best Southland can hope for this time is to finish a closer second than usual.
Otago will start as favourites with the likes of New Zealand champions, Alison Bell, John McGuiness, Rosemary Dunlop, Ian Burrow and Robin Harvey, and the team will be bolstered by a host of proven competitiors.
Southland will have one of its best years as far as senior women are concerned. The Maroon team in this section will be Lynley Orbel, Mary Rae, Judy Scott and Leila Edwards - a quartet which should beat any Otago fields.
Southland will place a good deal of reliance on veterans in the senior men's section. Neil Hamilton, John van Dyk, Mick Fenton, and Len Withers have all be called on. Johnny Flynn and John van Leeuwen are the only two of the eight Southlanders in the section to have competed regularly in carnivals this season.
The best races may be in the junior section where Eileen North (Southland) holder of the national junior 220 yrds backstroke and will oppose Robin Harvey (Otago), New Zealand 100 yrds backstroke champion. The national record could go by the board in this event.
Southland's useful sprinter, Tim Fenton will be swimming against John Edmonds and C. Laidlaw two Otgao boys who beat him at the New Zealand championships. But Tim has made such rapid improvement that his chances of reversing the Dunedin placings are bright.
The Fenton boys have not lacked parental enthusiasm for Mick Fenton has been a keen swimming administrator for a number of years and he is a foundation member and president of the St Mary's club and has represented the club for the last six or seven years.
It would be safe to say that in 1958 the full record book of the Fenton family would not yet be finished, not only have records been broken by the three brothers, Michael, Barrie and Tim there is a fourth brother Tony Fenton aged 7 who has just taken to the learners pool and he has a big family reputation to live up to but is more than capable of achieving this.
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