Swimmers hell-bent on personal bests

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Queenstown Swimming Club kids are going the extra length to make waves at next week’s Otago Swimming Championships.

Coach Frank Wylie says training for the Dunedin event started as far back as last June – the youngsters have recently been swimming 50km a week as well as spending 15-30 minutes before each swim session doing push-ups, sit-ups, skipping and flexibility training.

Swimming dad Clayton Gibson has also been taking the kids up Queenstown Hill twice a week for an early-morning walk before they hit the pool for a 4km training session.

Gibson’s “blown away” by their fitness levels, Wylie says.

This year’s Otago champs have attracted a record number of Queenstown entrants – 39 local kids will strive for medals and personal bests at Moana Pool during the four-day event starting next Thursday.

Up to 300 swimmers are expected to compete.

Regional competitions like this are club highlights as well as milestones for individual swimmers, says Wylie – they’re also a good opportunity to qualify for upcoming national championships.

The coaching stalwart has high hopes for many of his squad, including Olivia Robins, 15, Lauren Kerr, 13, McGregor Fea, 17, Rebecca Paul, 12, Patrick Harris, 11 and Marc Lemaire-Sicre, 15.

“There is another group who could easily qualify, there will be some surprises on the day,” he says.

“The kids are really excited and ready to go. A lot of them prior to Christmas have been swimming their personal bests. The training sets [which] the kids have been doing are some of their best-ever times.

“They will be going there hell-bent on getting their personal bests.”