Halle Micallef of CYMS contests the 50m breaststroke.
Halle Micallef of CYMS contests the 50m breaststroke.

CYMS ST Edmund’s targeting states as school program thrives

SWIMMING: CYMS St Edmund’s is preparing a small but talented squad to ambush the McDonald’s Queensland Champs in mid-December.

At the St Edmund’s pool experienced coach Simon Smith, and assistants Anthony Cronan and Elly Burling are taking their charges through gruelling sessions, honing their techniques and endurance.

Former student Cronan was a national finalist in breaststroke who cut his teeth in coaching at the Swim Factory before moving to his old training ground. Burling too is an ex-state medallist with many years accrued on pool deck handing out orders.

Smith has been coaching for 20 years. He transformed New Zealand’s Hamilton Club into a nationally ranked stronghold. Now, he is moulding champions in Ipswich and his next batch is nearly ready to roll off the production line.

Smith said at least four of his most promising had already achieved qualification for states and their progress was encouraging.

“Everything is going quite well,” he said.

What the trusted mentor is more excited about, however, is the potential building in his ranks. The school’s program is booming and Smith’s influence is paying dividends.

Participation levels are skyrocketing, with some 160 students diving into training at peak-times.

“I’ve been here two years and it is the most productive season we’ve had,” Smith said.

“We are seeing improvements across the board in terms of participation.”

The Ipswich college has also been offering a free rookies program at the conclusion of semester two and the initiative has been hugely successful.

Smith said the idea was to introduce incoming students to the school, promote participation in the extra-curricular program and increase involvement in swimming.

He said the healthy numbers had been taking advantage and the swim team would undoubtedly improve out of sight as a result.

“We’ve got more depth in the relays,” he said.

“Next year, will be a good season.

“Particularly in the lower age groups. We have some quality kids coming through which will strengthen our overall results.

“Anthony can relate to the younger kids. His focus is on retention and development and he is the heart of the program.”.

Smith said CYMS club member Burling also played an essential role on the coaching staff working with entry level swimmers.

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