DALBY’S NEW CHAMP

Meet the re­gion’s new­est teen swim­ming su­per­star

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Meg Gan­non Meg.Gan­[email protected]­by­her­ald.com.au

FOR 16-year-old Chloe Johnston, swim­ming wasn’t al­ways her great­est pas­sion. Like most chil­dren with older sib­lings, Chloe started swim­ming be­cause her sis­ter did it and she wanted to fol­low in her foot­steps.

“I started swim­ming when I was pretty lit­tle, like six or seven, but I didn’t re­ally like it,” Miss Johnston said.

“I just did it once a week be­cause my big sis­ter swam.”

Th­ese days, Chloe – who hails from Dalby but now lives on the Sun­shine Coast – is some­what of a swim­ming su­per­star.

She’s busy pre­par­ing for one of her tough­est com­pe­ti­tions yet.

Chloe fin­ished off 2018 on a high, achiev­ing some in­cred­i­ble re­sults from her state com­pe­ti­tion in Bris­bane, which ran from De­cem­ber 10-15.

“I had a pretty good meet,” Miss Johnston said about the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I made the fi­nal in the 200m but­ter­fly and got my na­tional time and came sev­enth. My favourite event is the 800m freestyle, and I came fourth in that.”

Miss Johnston has now been swim­ming com­pet­i­tively for four years and is show­ing no sign of slow­ing down.

More of the swim­mer’s life is spent in the pool than out.

Miss Johnston wakes up ev­ery morn­ing and trains for two hours, at­tends school from 8.20am to 3.20pm, and is straight back in the pool af­ter school.

The in­tense train­ing means Miss Johnston some­times misses out on hol­i­days and much-de­served breaks. She was given three days off af­ter the state com­pe­ti­tion be­fore div­ing straight back into train­ing.

De­spite stay­ing cool dur­ing races, Miss Johnston does get a bit ner­vous ev­ery now and again.

“The hard­est part about com­pet­ing is when I get re­ally ner­vous and some­times I don’t swim as well,” Miss Johnston said.

“If it’s my 800m I get re­ally ner­vous, but if it’s some­thing I don’t train for I’m like ‘oh, what­ever’.”

To help get over nerves, the teen says she’s got a great playlist filled with plenty of rap and Gang of Youths.

Chloe’s mum Kylie has moved back to Dalby re­cently and works as the man­ager of Dalby Aquatic Cen­tre.

Kylie has al­ways seen the po­ten­tial in her daugh­ter and ad­mires her hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

“She ac­tu­ally en­joys it. She gets her­self up at 4.30 in the morn­ing, sticks to her diet and just trains hard,” Mrs Johnston said.

As for the tough­est as­pect of Chloe swim­ming com­pet­i­tively, Kylie be­lieves the hard part is jug­gling all the day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties.

“They get very tired, and try­ing to fit school in is very, very tricky,” Mrs Johnston said.

De­spite the chal­lenges, Chloe is train­ing long and hard for na­tion­als, where her mum will be in the crowd, cheer­ing her daugh­ter on as her num­ber-one fan.

The ul­ti­mate goal for the swim star is to make the Olympics in the fu­ture. She’d love to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in her favourite event, the 800m freestyle.

For now, Chloe has a set of goals for 2019 that she’s fo­cussing on.

“I re­ally want to try and get a medal at na­tion­als this year,” Miss Johnston said.

“And there’s an Aus­tralian ju­nior team that I’d like to make as well.”

She has been train­ing un­der Craig Harkiss and Michael Sage, who have helped her get to where she is to­day.

The na­tional swim­ming cham­pi­onships will be held in mid-April in Ade­laide.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

YOUNG CHAM­PION: Chloe Johnston is on her way to Na­tion­als af­ter putting in months of train­ing.

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