The 2011/2012 swimming season was a big one for Morwell’s Annie Pepper.
Competing in eight events at this year’s national titles, Annie was part of the Traralgon Swimming Club’s under 14 gold medal-winning medley relay team, and took the bronze in the 100 metre backstroke.
“I’d been training towards trying to get into the finals for most of my events, which I did in all except two of them,” she said.
Annie admitted to being “really happy” with her performance, after she “barely made the top 30” at the nationals last year.
“Yeah… I’ve come a long way since then,” she said.
When asked about what turned her form around, she said moving to the TSC in April last year made a “huge difference”.
“I was in New South Wales and we came down here… I moved to the Traralgon Swimming Club and I’ve just progressed from there,” she said.
“My NSW club was small, and there are more people and coaches here; I love it.”
After a short time off, Annie resumed her busy training schedule last week in preparation for the 2012/13 season which started at the end of July.
“I do about eight swim sessions and three gym sessions a week,” she said.
With each of her swim sessions lasting “between two and three hours,” a lot of Annie’s time is taken up with swimming.
But the mature 13 year-old did not believe she was missing out on anything.
“There have been a few periods when it got a bit much, when I felt I was missing out on slumber parties that my friends were having,” she said.
“I went out of it a bit there, but when I realised how much I missed it I got back into it.”
And it looks like Annie’s dedication is attracting the attention of the Swimming Victoria.
“At the moment I’m on the program called 2016 target squad,” she said.
“About a month ago Swimming Victoria sent me a letter saying they’d like me to work towards the 2016 Olympics.
“It doesn’t change my training that much, it just tells me that people are watching.”
But for now, Annie is focusing on improving her rankings this season, and acknowledged the efforts of her parents and coaches.
“I’d like to thank them for all the time they put in,” she said.