‘Lit­tle fish’ makes a splash in big pond

South Waikato News - - SPORT / TE PAPA HA¯KINAKINA -

Break­ing mul­ti­ple Cook Is­land na­tional swimming records was one of the many high­lights Tracy Keith-Matchitt ex­pe­ri­enced at the FINA World Short Course Cham­pi­onships.

Keith-Matchitt, orig­i­nally from Toko­roa, was one of three swim­mers who at­tended the Doha event from De­cem­ber 3 to 7.

The 24-year-old said the breathtaking fa­cil­i­ties, ef­fi­ciency and car­peted pool arena made the high­light reel too.

‘‘I couldn’t get over how nice the pool was.’’

And her re­sults seemed to match. The com­pet­i­tive freestyler beat her own per­sonal best in the 100-me­tre freestyle with a time of 56.64 seconds.

She said she was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed with her 50m freestyle time that matched her seed time down to the last milli sec­ond.

‘‘I was like, ‘damn it, how does some­one do that?’ It wasn’t even like .01 slower or faster, it was ex­actly to the split.’’

But her spec­tac­u­lar times that now make her the record holder for the fe­male 50m and 100m swim times in the Cook Is­lands.

She said walk­ing up to the start­ing block was a trip in it­self, and a strange one at that with com­pletely car­peted floors and no one on the pool deck aside from the of­fi­cials and fel­low swim­mers.

‘‘The TV never re­ally jus­ti­fies how im­pres­sive it is there.

‘‘I was just a small fish in a re­ally big pond . . . be­ing able to watch the top peo­ple in my race and other races was a huge learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence . . . there are so many things I can take back to the pool be­cause ev­ery­one who is bet­ter than me has got some­thing I can learn from.’’

With more than 150 coun­tries com­pet­ing, the din­ing hall made for an ex­cep­tion­ally in­ter­cul­tural af­fair, she said.

‘‘It stopped Nan and Pop from freak­ing out.

‘‘Nan kept ask­ing, are you eat­ing OK?’’

Keith Matchitt said the trip would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the support from her coach, and for­mer Toko­roa man Horst Meihe.

Go­ing places: Tracy Keith-Matchitt has a huge ex­pe­ri­ence at the Fina World Short Course Cham­pi­onships

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