BACK IN THE WATER: Rainbow Beach Aquatic Centre opening in 2012, with Rick Modin beside the pool. This weekend, the centre will host 283 athletes.
BACK IN THE WATER: Rainbow Beach Aquatic Centre opening in 2012, with Rick Modin beside the pool. This weekend, the centre will host 283 athletes. Craig Warhurst

283 athletes at champs

THE Rainbow Beach Swimming Club will host the Wide Bay Swimming Championships this weekend, its first major carnival since the centre opened in 2012.

Wide Bay swimming president Sean Cawley said the carnival had drawn competitors from Bundaberg to Caloundra and out to Kingaroy.

Rainbow Beach now had the quality facilities to cater for the expected 283 competitors competing at the carnival, Cawley said.

Work at the Rainbow Beach Aquatic Centre had been ongoing since it was built, with the construction of a community gymnasium the latest addition to the site.

The young athletes will compete in the 50m heated pool the the centre.

Cawley said the carnival would start about noon on Saturday and is expected to finish at around 1pm on Sunday

There will be timed finals held rather than heats, followed by the finals and medals will be awarded throughout.

The top three from each age group - from 8 to 15 years, will have the chance to stand on the podium as they do at Olympic presentations.

"The young kids feel special like having their own little Olympics," he said.

Competitors older than 17 and even into their 20s sometimes travel with their clubs and compete for fitness.

The carnival has been held since at least the 1980s. Last year, it was held at the Sunshine Coast and the year before, at Hervey Bay, so it was great to now be able to hold it at Rainbow.

Cawley expected Cooloola Crocs members would do well and competitors from Rainbow Beach had also nominated for the event.

All competitors would be hoping to achieve the qualifying time needed to continue to the Queensland State Short Course Championships in Brisbane for the last weekend in August.

"It should be a great weekend and I am looking forward to it.

"We will look to use the pool for more carnivals in the future," he said.