How six champions emerged from small bush town
SWIMMING: Six best mates from Kilkivan have beaten the odds and shown they can match it with the best when they competed at the Queensland State Sprint Championships in Brisbane last weekend.
The Kilkivan Stringrays Swimming Club members had the odds stacked against them before even arriving.
"They needed to reach certain qualifying times and they do not train all year like the other competitors," coach Krystal Power said.
"We only got our heated pool at the start of this swimming season in September. Even then it is only solar heated and does not give us training all year round like the bigger clubs down south.
"If we can get an extended season, imagine the results these children could achieve."
While some of the best facilities are available for the bigger clubs, these six used their 25m outdoor pool.
"It gives us the benefit for longer distances because our turns are much smoother," Power said.
"It does not make much difference, but we focused on our sprint training."
The club has about 45 members, of which 12 are competitive, and Power has been coaching them for the past three seasons.
"The biggest improvement I have seen is their confidence. They go to these big meets and they know they can match it with anyone now," she said.
"Last year we took five swimmers and they only competed in a few events.
"This year we had six - two of which were first-timers - and they competed in 11 events, eight of which they got personal bests in."
Their regional location is not hindering their dreams and Power said she could not take the credit.
"We have so much talent here in Kilkivan. I can tell them what to do, but at the end of the day it is the children who are doing it.
"I am fortunate to have a great rapport with them. They are all good mates outside of the club," she said.
The swimmers are now preparing for the Wide Bay Championships, being held from March 7-8 at Kawana.