Western Aquatics build fine team for the future
APART from dodging some storms at training, Western Aquatics swimmers are excited and ready for the state titles at Chandler starting on Saturday.
Sydney 2000 Olympian Heath Ramsay is overseeing a team of eight individual swimmers, with nearly 40 competitors involved in relays on the first day.
"Everything is running smoothly,'' the club's head coach said.
"I'm pretty confident they will all swim PBs (personal bests) and hopefully either kids making finals for the first time or getting up into that top 20 range as well.''
Leading the way in the individual events is 14-year-old Laura Brosnan, who has a big program over the week.
She's focusing on the 200m and 400m individual medley, 100m and 200m butterfly, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle.
To her credit, Brosnan has overcome a dislocated knee and glandular fever to return strongly to the pool.
"She's well and truly out the other side and all fine now,'' Ramsay said.
"It will be a good test. She should make heaps of finals in a majority of those events as well.''
With Western Aquatics in its second year as a regional club, Ramsay is keen to give as many swimmers as possible a taste of higher level competition.
That's why the number of swimmers entered in relay teams is double last year.
"A lot of them are like little guys, so nine, 10, 11 year olds that just missed qualifying or are too young for states,'' Ramsay said.
"It's giving them a bit of experience before they hope to qualify in the next few years.''
In the individual events, newcomers include Gracie Albion and Jordan Lane.
"It's just managing their nerves,'' he said.
"Like it is always, all they are doing is chasing PBs. Keep it as simple as possible.''
Jade Kickbusch, 17, is competing in 17-18 years and open competition in events like the 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
With a blend of newcomers and more seasoned competitors, former international swimmer Ramsay will support his swimmers every step of the way.
"It's that mixture of giving kids a reward for doing the work,'' he said.
"They might have just missed out or give the kids a taste so hopefully over the next few years, they might step and get individual swims moreso than relays.''
The club is also paying the nomination fees for those competing at the state titles.
A bus will take the relay swimmers to Chandler on Saturday in a team-bonding trip, reflective of the new Ipswich club's family-minded approach.
- Western Aquatics swimmers contesting individual events at the state titles starting on Saturday.
- Gracie Albion, 11 (100m butterfly, 100m freestyle).
- Lilli Albion, 12 (100m and 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly).
- Laura Brosnan, 14 (200m and 400 IM, 100m and 200m butterfly, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle).
- Mikaela Gallaher, 14 (100m, 200m and 800m freestyle).
- Jade Kickbusch, 17 (100m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle).
- Jordan Lane, 11 (100m butterfly).
- Jillian McFarlane, 12 (100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 100m backstroke).
- Hannah Wheelhouse, 12 (200 IM, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke).