TRARALGON Swimming Club will take the largest contingent of swimmers from any Victorian Country club to the Australian Age Group Championships in Sydney this week.
Fourteen swimmers have qualified to compete at the highest level of competition for 12 to 18 year olds in the nation at the Homebush complex – venue of the 2000 Olympics.
Senior head coach Brian Ford said a number of swimmers were real medal chances.
“The club has had swimmers win medals each year at this competition since 2003 and we are looking for another year on the podium,” he said.
Mikaela Cornelissen (16) has continually improved since her first meet as a 13 year-old, winning bronze and silver the last two years in the 100-metre fly.
Caiden Gill (16) has won medals behind Australian record holder Kyle Chambers in the 50m freestyle, Ellodie Reid (15) has her backstroke in great shape after working her way back from a shoulder injury, while Alex Tsebelis (14), Locke De Garis (14) and Connor O’Neill (15) also have their backstroke up to speed.
Melina deCort (14) comes off last year’s meet with medals and is again seeking a top three result.
“Multi class swimmer Emily Beecroft (15) also looks set for a great meet, building on last year’s performances with another year of training and maturity under her belt,” Ford said.
Over 1500 swimmers from 172 clubs across Australia and overseas will compete at the meet, which also double as selection trials for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships to be held in Singapore later in the year.
Club captain, Erin Roberts is competing in her fifth nationals and the excitement is building.
“Nationals is the pinnacle of any swimmer’s season,” Roberts said.
“It’s tough to qualify, the standards are raised another level just to final and then the challenge to win medals usually comes down to 10ths of a seconds – it’s an amazing event – you learn so much.”
The meet will run from today until Monday, 20 April.