20 rewarding summers for Swallow

Janet Swallow.
Janet Swallow.
Janet Swallow (Taieri) was a novice bowler when she won her first Bowls Dunedin title 18 years ago.

She is now an experienced bowler with 20 years' experience and won two more centre titles last season.

Swallow won the mixed pairs title with Robbie Thomson (Fairfield) and her 12th title in the women's champion of champions triples with Raylene Walshaw and Pam Walker.

They beat the Outram combination of Sue Hodges, Anne Warrington-Blair and Mary Stevenson, 17-10, in the final.

It was the third centre title for Walshaw and the second for Walker.

Swallow's first Bowls Dunedin title was in the champion of champions singles when she beat Gaynor Reid (Andersons Bay).

Reid, who now lives at Nelson, holds 24 centre titles - a record for women's bowlers in Bowls Dunedin.

''I didn't know who Gaynor was when I played the final,'' Swallow said.

''I did not know her record and just went out and played bowls.''

It was not an easy ride for Swallow in that event because she had to beat other top Dunedin bowlers like Lyn Rance and Lyn Bevin to progress to the final.

''I was just a second-year bowler at the time and had to work hard for the title,'' Swallow recalled.

''I didn't know much about bowls at all.''

Swallow is a cousin of former New Zealand World Bowls representative Kevin Darling, who gave her a few tips in the early days.

''Kevin was the most natural bowler I've seen,'' Swallow said.

''The game was easy for him.''

Swallow won her only New Zealand title in 1998 in the late Mata McEwan's composite four at Palmerston North.

She finished runner-up to the legendary Millie Khan (Matamata) at Dunedin four years later.

Swallow was an accurate draw bowler and played lead at that time.

It gained her selection in the New Zealand development squad and she played for the development team against Australia.

In 2001, she played for a New Zealand selection against the visiting Irish and Scottish teams.

''I worked hard to get there,'' Swallow said.

''I travelled a lot to get the best competition and I thrived on it.''

Her approach to bowls is different these days and she plays skip most of the time.

''My ambition these days is to help younger players in the club develop and help them to win titles,'' Swallow said.

Her husband, Allan, also plays for the Taieri club and has won one Bowls Dunedin title in the fours with skip Dave Archer.

Swallow likes to keep a record of her career, keeping every newspaper report about herself and she also buys all the photos that appear in the newspapers.

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