SWIM­MERS READY FOR LONG COURSE MEET

Pear­son, Gam­ble, lead our swim­mers at long course

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - GOOD MORNING FRASER COAST - MATTHEW MCINERNEY Matthew.McInerney@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

SWIMMING: They are two of Her­vey Bay Swimming Club’s ris­ing stars to watch.

Olivia Pear­son and Kasey Gam­ble are two of the club’s 29 swim­mers to line up on the blocks at the club’s Long Course meet, which started with long-dis­tance events at Her­vey Bay Aquatic Cen­tre last night.

Gam­ble, 15, is a freestyle spe­cial­ist. It’s built on the back of com­fort­a­bil­ity and speed, which she has de­vel­oped over eight years of com­pet­i­tive swimming.

“I don’t know, I en­joy it most and I was al­ways just bet­ter at freestyle than other strokes,” Gam­ble said.

“I started swimming when I was young. It started with lit­tle meets but as I grew older I got faster when it came to states and na­tion­als.

“When I was about 11 I started to re­ally en­joy it and wanted to do more. I won a re­lay medal at state for the first time and I just wanted to keep swimming.”

Gam­ble counts a na­tional ti­tles meet this year and her time swimming for the Pi­ran­has at the Vic­to­rian Short Course Cham­pi­onships last year as her high­lights to date.

If you con­sider her place in Wide Bay’s Swimming Queens­land Devel­op­ment Squad for 2018-19 – one of only four Fraser Coast swim­mers in the squad – and her pres­ence in the Aus­tralian Ju­nior Ex­cel­lence pro­gram, Gam­ble, whose ma­jor swimming goal is to make na­tion­als next year, could be one to watch in fu­ture, though she is firm in her com­mit­ment to the Her­vey Bay club.

“This club has such a fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment it just makes you want to keep com­ing back to swimming,” Gam­ble said.

“All the par­ents are sup­port­ive, and our coach (Caleb Ryan) is amaz­ing.”

Pear­son is just 0.72 sec­onds out­side a na­tional qual­i­fy­ing time for the 100m breast­stroke, while Gam­ble is part of sev­eral re­gional and state devel­op­ment squads.

She was just six months old the first time she was in a pool, and has grown a love for swimming in the years since. The 13year-old counts breast­stroke as her strongest stroke, a devel­op­ment she at­tributes to Ryan’s fo­cused tu­ition.

“It is hard but Caleb makes it a lot eas­ier by mak­ing it fun,” Pear­son said.

Pear­son aims to record a na­tional time in the 100m breast­stroke this week­end.

This week­end is Her­vey Bay Swimming Club’s time to shine, and while a clash with big­ger meets will keep sev­eral swim­mers from the Sunshine Coast and Bris­bane away there is still ex­pected to be a large co­hort of com­peti­tors.

While the wild weather may in­flu­ence some com­peti­tors’ arrivals, swim­mers from Cooroy, Kin­garoy, Cot­ton Tree, Fairymead, Gympie and Rock­hamp­ton have en­tered, along with a strong co­hort from the Fraser Coast Swim Club.

Ryan said it was an im­por­tant week­end for the ath­letes.

“This is the lo­cal meet we run ev­ery year,” Ryan said.

“For some it’s their first long course meet of the year, for oth­ers it will be their sec­ond.

“The older swim­mers can use it as a na­tional qual­i­fy­ing meet for age na­tion­als in April.

“I’ve got six who are old enough and chasing times be­tween now and March next year. A few are re­ally close to those times so there’s a good chance of them get­ting the times by then.”

Rac­ing will start at 8.30am to­day. The car­ni­val will go ahead de­spite the rain, but in the event of light­ning the com­pe­ti­tion will be can­celled.

Photo: Alis­tair Bright­man

CHASING TIMES: Olivia Pear­son and Kasey Gam­ble are two Her­vey Bay Swimming Club mem­bers who are chasing na­tional qual­i­fy­ing times.

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