Swimmers on edge of glory
FUTURE Ipswich Olympic prospect Leah Neale was the only regional swimmer to make a final at the trials to select Australia's London Games team.
However, CYMS-St Edmund's coach Peter Carswell is excited about the next four years.
Carswell said Neale and clubmates Hayden Rea, Krystle Clarke and Sharnie Kunde gained valuable experience at the Olympic trials in Adelaide.
Importantly, the hotly-contested trials showed the Ipswich contingent the sacrifices needed to reach the highest level.
"Our kids realised every night how much it means for people to be part of a very exclusive club," said Carswell, who was on the pool deck during the Olympic trials.
"I thought the swimmers were better all-round than I thought they would be.
"I still think we've got a bit to go but we're in a good position now that the Olympics are three or four months away.
"They (regional swimmers) make sacrifices but to be at the Olympics you've got to make more.
"At the next trials, Leah will be 20, Hayden will be 19 and Sharnie will be 22 so they're in a good position to move up. As long as they keep improving, they're going to get there."
Neale produced a personal best (4.10.80) to finish sixth in the 400m freestyle final featuring world class swimmers Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt.
Neale also swam a PB in the 200m freestyle to reach the semi-final and place 13th overall.
"Leah is a future Australian representative at open level," Carswell said.
"She's a world class junior swimmer but she's still got to learn experience counts at this (Olympic trials) level.
"She's 16 so there's a lot of chances for her like junior Pan Pacs and world shortcourse and world championships next year."
Carswell said Rea was overawed at his first major meet, going out too hard in the 400m freestyle.
"He'll learn from that and be a better swimmer for it," Carswell said.
Clarke has only been working with Carswell for four months so the Ipswich coach is eager to see how far she can progress.
Kunde swam a PB in the 200m butterfly to finish 26th overall.
While the Olympic trials were the main focus last week, Carswell and his assistant Bryan Green were also heartened by the efforts of three other club swimmers in Queensland schools competition.
Anthony Cronan broke the state schools record on his way to coming second in the 14 years 200m individual medley. Cronan swam another PB to collect a gold medal in the 400m IM.
Ryan Smith made finals in all his events, winning silver in the 13 years 200m breaststroke.
Laura Scolaro won silver in the 15 years 400m IM, also reaching finals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
"We're really happy with their preparations coming into age nationals," Green said.
"They are still in fairly heavy work at the moment and I was actually surprised with the results they got there (state schools championships). All indications look positive."
Cronan, Smith and Scolaro will be joined by Neale, Clarke and Kunde at the national age titles in Brisbane from April 9-14.