Megan Gianotti, 14, overcome a long illness to secure a haul of medals at the recent Queensland age championships in Brisbane.
Megan Gianotti, 14, overcome a long illness to secure a haul of medals at the recent Queensland age championships in Brisbane. Claudia Baxter

Megan bounces back

MEGAN Gianotti has always been a fighter.

That much was clear when she was two-years-old and successfully overcame operations to cure a hole in her heart, which she was born with.

The Springfield 14-year-old has proved it again, however, overcoming a year’s illness to confirm she remains one of Australia’s brightest swimming prospects.

Megan won three silver medals (400m IM, 100m fly and 200m fly) and a bronze (200 IM) at the state age championships at Chandler last month.

She was disappointed not to take home any gold but perhaps the most important thing for Megan was she managed personal best (PB) times in all four events.

It is not surprising when you consider the ordeal she has only recently emerged from.

Megan suffered from glandular fever for the better part of 12 months.

In that time she was forced to halve her usually weekly training regime from 20 hours to 10, still enough to make most people cringe.

When she was not training or attending school at Springfield College, Megan was usually sleeping.

Amazingly, Megan continued setting PBs throughout her illness.

“It was pretty hard,” the plucky teenager said of training and competing while ill. “Because I wanted to train but I had to take time out.

“I knew I’d get better some day.

“I was staying in the water so I couldn’t lose my fitness.

“We kept trying to find solutions.”

That meant trying different doctors who recommended various remedies, until one suggested she get her tonsils removed.

As soon as the tonsils were removed, she was a new person.

“Even in the hospital you could tell it in her eyes,” Megan’s mum Tina said.

Megan describes as “exciting” being free from illness for the first time in a year.

Megan was beaten in her favourite butterfly events, in which she was last year’s national 13 years champion, by Vanessa Puhlmann.

But when the nationals roll around in April, Gianotti is confident she can retain her Australian titles as Puhlmann will have moved up an age division.

That is if she contests the age titles.

Megan and her Waterworx Swim Club coaches Paul Sansby and Peter Cherry are yet to decide whether to contest them or instead focus on the national open titles, held a fortnight earlier.

Megan puts her success down to one thing – training hard.

It is not something she sees as a chore, though there are some mornings she’d like to sleep in a little longer.

“Sometimes I’m like ‘oh, I’ve got to get up’ but after the session I feel good,” she said.

Her ultimate goal is to make the Australian open swim team, but she has not put a timeframe on it.

“I’m trying to work my way there,” she said.

“As long as I train hard (I think I can get there).”

The 173cm teen is still growing and there is plenty of time yet.

Like any 14-year-old should, she is also doing it because it is fun. “At the moment I’m concentrating on making teams, having a good time and doing well,” she said.

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