Swim stage doesn't get any bigger for Gladstone girls
SWIMMING: The Australian Age Swimming Championships are the pinnacle event on the Swimming Australia calendar for age-group swimmers.
And Gladstone Swimming Club will be there to take part in the action being proudly represented by Clara Furness, 15, and Stephanie Elliott, 14.
Both girls attended last month's Swimming Queensland National Preparation Meet in Brisbane, where they swam personal best times to qualify for their events at Nationals.
On March 28-30 they represented Capricornia at the Queensland School Sport Swimming Championships, also in Brisbane, with Clara swimming another personal best in the 200m freestyle to win the gold medal in her age group.
Coach Tom Fronek couldn't be happier with the girls' dedication to training.
"They have both set their goals and they have worked hard to get there,” Fronek said.
"The funny thing is they have qualified in events they didn't originally intend on.
"As their training progressed they were better able to identify their strengths and change their focus to develop more in those strength areas.”
Stephanie will compete in the 100m butterfly while Clara is competing in the 200m and 400m freestyle and hoping for more personal best times.
"It will be tough,” Clara said.
"There are some girls in my age group (15) who have already represented Australia at a junior level and my qualifying times place me around midfield.
"I set the goal of qualifying for nationals about two seasons ago.
"Firstly, I was focused on backstroke but now my strength is freestyle - 100, 200 and 400m.
"Tom is a great coach and teaches us to swim hard but smart.
"He focuses sets on pacing for our events and we work hard towards our target times for specific events.”
The Australian Age Swimming Championships will take place at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Adelaide from April 15-22.