L-R: Shianne Plunkett, Clara Furness and Kane Martin. PICTURE: Rebecca Devine
L-R: Shianne Plunkett, Clara Furness and Kane Martin. PICTURE: Rebecca Devine

Hard-working young swimmers gain big recognition

SWIMMING: Gladstone Gladiators trio, Clara Furness, Kane Martin and Shianne Plunkett were named in the Swimming Queensland development squad.

Swimming Queensland has a long history of athletes that have progressed through the development program and some went on to represent Australia at Youth and Open-level international events.

The program has evolved over recent years and now aligns with Swimming Queensland's long-term athlete development philosophy as well as the Australian Sports Commission and Swimming Australia's Foundations, Talent, Elite and Mastery framework.

Furness and Martin were named in the McDonald's Bronze squad and Plunkett in the McDonald's Junior Development squad.

Gladstone Gladiators head coach Tom Fronek said all three athletes were humble in acknowledging their achievements.

"They are all hardworking athletes and focused on their swimming goals," he said.

"They all wanted to qualify for nationals this year and did not shy away from the hard training.

"While Clara just missed out, Kane and Shianne did qualify and it was disappointing for them not to be able to compete at the National Championship in Perth in April due to COVID-19."

Swimming Queensland Bronze and Junior Development Squad qualifying times are calculated from the 2019 World Junior Championship and squads for the 2020-21 season recognised performances from May 1 last year to April 30 this year.

Being selected in a development squad gives these athletes access to camps, workshops or clinics that provide the appropriate level of development and educational support required to progress along the pathway.

"I am proud to be selected in the development squad again and this will be my third year now and Kane's second," Furness said.

"It is nice to get recognition from Swimming Queensland for our season's achievements.

"I am really missing the pool at the moment because I love training and the discipline it involves, fitting it in around my schoolwork and just want to get back in the water and train with my teammates … we all do."

Furness and her fellow swimmers paid tribute to their coach.

"We are all grateful to Tom and the training schedules he plans for us and the time he devotes to us and all the swimmers at Gladiators," she said.

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