TAHLIA O’Connell has become the latest junior to join Bathurst’s impressive list of swimmers who have reached the State Age level.
Titanium Swim Club member O’Connell, 10, is excited to start her preparation for December’s State Age Championships after qualifying in the 50 metres freestyle.
O’Connell achieved the feat at the weekend’s Swimming NSW Achiever Squad Meet where she was part of the Mountains And Plains representative team.
The Bathurst swimmer took on five events in the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre pool but the 50m freestyle was always going to be the event O’Connell had the best chance to qualify for.
That was because O’Connell arrived at Sydney with a personal best mark of 35.11 seconds – just shy of the 35 second barrier she needed to break for qualification.
O’Connell was up for the challenge, sneaking under the qualifying mark with a time of 34.90 seconds.
“It felt pretty good. At Sydney they have the screen at the end where you can see your time. I looked up at that at the end [of my race] and got really excited,” O’Connell said.
It was a great meeting overall for O’Connell as she found new personal best times in three of her four events.
O’Connell’s coach Emilie Miller said the freestyle time bodes well for the rest of the young swimmer’s summer.
“It’s encouraging that she’s got a state time this early in the season. Tahlia only turned 10 a couple of weeks ago so it’s pretty encouraging for the rest of the season. I think she’s going to have a good year,” she said.
“It’s encouraging for everyone else at the club. It will make everyone want to try and go a little better as well.
“There’s lots of hard work ahead now. We’ll get her to do some speed stuff later and hopefully we can get even more state times out of her in the carnivals coming up.”
Over 60 swimmers represented Mountains and Plains. Bathurst had a strong presence, making up over a quarter of the team.
I looked up ... at the end [of my race] and got really excited.Tahlia O'Connell
There’s plenty more opportunities for swimmers to qualify for State Age.
The next of those will be this weekend at the Swimming NSW Long Course qualifying meet.