TOP EFFORT: Swimmers Emma Doherty and Tahlia Austin   in Adelaide with coach Paul Connolly.
TOP EFFORT: Swimmers Emma Doherty and Tahlia Austin in Adelaide with coach Paul Connolly.

Young swimmers test their strength at nationals

EMU Park Swimming Club swimmers Emma Doherty and Tahlia Austin have recently returned from the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships held in Adelaide from April 15-22, having both recorded strong swims.

Coach Paul Connolly said both Emma and Tahlia were excited to return to this event after competing in Sydney in the same event last year and were keen to test themselves against the best swimmers in the country.

"The event was well supported with teams from all over Australia and also international swimmers in attendance,” Mr Connolly said.

"With more than 1500 swimmers competing, the organisers kept the meet flowing and made it a great event to be a part of.

"Our girls were hoping to prove to themselves that they can perform at this level of competition and that is exactly what they did, swimming strongly through the entire meet.

"This is not an easy task with a week-long event.”

Mr Connolly said by the middle of the week they were lucky enough to have the support of physiotherapist Simon Poole from Movement Improvement to keep everything in place, which helped the girls produce some great swims.

"Simon's commitment to our sport and athletes is second to none and we are so lucky to have these services in our area,” he said.

"The aim for our girls was to rank in the top half for their events. If we could do this then we would be heading in the right direction.

"The girls both exceeded that expectation with both just outside top 30, which are the seeded heats at the event, proving to them that if we keep focused and have a good preparation we could be in those seeded heats next year.

"From a coach's perspective, the girls have really grown from last year's event to know they have come here with a definite plan. They were really organised in the warm-up pool, each swimmer executing their warm up to get them ready to perform in the competition pool.

"I felt they only needed my input with times in the speed work of the warm up, so for a coach it is exciting when an athlete takes ownership. I couldn't be any prouder of the way they executed their races.

"To qualify for the championships is not easy, so just to be at the event, to soak up all the atmosphere, to see the next tier of Australian representatives performing in the pool, to not get lost in all the emotion is very character building and our girls have grown so much this week. I cannot wait to see where they go from here.”

After a short break the girls will be back in the pool with their teammates preparing for our Winter Short Course racing season, culminating with the state championships in August.