Mercury (Hobart)



GOLDEN girl Ariarne Titmus has returned to where her Olympic dream began to help guide the next generation of Tasmanian swimmers.

She was joined by fellow Tasmanian and Australian Dolphin Para swimmer Jake Templeton at the Launceston Leisure and Aquatic Centre on Tuesday to offer pointers to young swimmers and meet fans.

Titmus said it was important young people were able to back themselves and their ambitions.

“I always believed in myself and I believe that’s the way you have to be, even coming from Tassie, the smallest place in the country. I feel like you can’t limit yourself and I think that’s way you have to have your mindset,” she said.

The swimming clinic was run for Tasmanian Junior Excellence swimmers from across the state, but due to Covid restrictio­ns only 80 of the 200 potential swimmers were able to participat­e.

Titmus captured the hearts of the nation as she won gold in the 400m and 200m freestyle, silver in the 800m and bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics.

Originally from Launceston, she relocated to Queensland to further her Olympic chances.

“Of course, I’m Tasmanian born and bred and Launceston will always be my childhood home and I will always have a bit of Tasmanian in me, and will also have a bit of Queensland in me,” she said.

Titmus will receive the key to the city in a ceremony later in the week and said she was “grateful and humbled” to become the first female and the youngest person to receive the honour.

The 50m competitio­n pool at the aquatic centre will be named in her honour and a swimming scholarshi­p in her name also to be establishe­d by the Launceston City Council.

“The naming of the competitio­n pool, I feel like that’s the one for me that really hits home,” she said.

“I feel like this pool is where I really started to make my mark as a swimmer and to have the naming rights to the pool is very surreal, I didn’t think I would get to the point in my career where I would achieve such things,” she said.

Among the young swimmers taking part on Tuesday was Isabel Perry, 10, from Prospect, who got a pair of bathers signed after taking part in the drills and is hoping to get them framed.

“I don’t know if I will be seeing any more Olympians in my future, maybe, but that’s why it is so special to me,” she said.

Launceston Aquatic Club coach Peter Tonkin said it was an incredible opportunit­y for young swimmers.

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