What real fans are made of

April 8, 2016 by Leanne Shelton
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Alon Pajor, the sole Maccabi swimmer at the recent Australian Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide, thought that his father Richard and his coach Anthony Goodridge in the stands were the only fans cheering him on were. ..but he was wrong.

Alon Pajer

Alon Pajor

As Alon stood nervously behind the blocks about to compete in the 14yrs 100m freestyle sharing the tension, possibly as nervous as him,  1000kms away over 20 of his club-mates, crowded together to watch the action unfold live on their mobile phones.

“It was so great watching our mate swim,” said one club member, Damon Glick. “Especially exciting because we were all together watching him.” The club members were also at a swim meet, representing Moriah and Emanuel at the March 30 AICES high school event at Homebush.  But for about a minute they were transported to the South Australia Sports and Aquatic Centre, personal hopes put on hold.

It was actually less than a minute, 56.04 seconds to be exact. A 1 second personal best and agonisingly close to a milestone ‘55’. Pajor placed 26th overall.  A terrific effort for the Moriah year 9 student who has fought back from a horrific rugby injury in 2015 to get back to the National stage. And then, as if inspired by his efforts, Pajor’s teammates tore strips off their own best times, collected gold medals and muscled their way to the next level of competition, the prestigious Combined Independent Schools Carnival (CIS).

Loyal fans

Loyal fans

Laila Reuven and the boys 14yrs Freestyle Relay scored gold medals for Moriah while Jared Elbourne picked up a gold and silver medal swimming for Emanuel School. In total, 16 swimmers from the two schools made it through to CIS, Elbourne and a record 15 Moriah students. 

Pajor wasn’t finished either.  A so-so swim in the 50m Freestyle shook his confidence but he bounced back two days later with a furious 200m Freestyle.  Ranked last (38th) going into the event he blasted a 2 second pb (2.03.09) to climb 14 places to 24th, an even better result than his 100m. “I couldn’t believe it,’ said Alon. “To go in ranked last and come out doing so well and with a 2 second pb, such a great experience. Next year I hope to go to Brisbane, and bring my teammates with me.” 

And though they weren’t there this year, Maya Murphy made her presence felt as the only other Jewish swimmer from NSW.  A huge pb saw her qualify for the 14yrs 100m backstroke where she lowered her time again to a very tidy 1.06.58 to earn 8th place overall.


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