With the Commonwealth Games swimming program coming to a close on the Gold Coast, the sport’s attention will now turn to its future stars at the Australian Age Swimming Championships.
Zara Sharman will be one such swimmer who will take to the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre for the competition.
A freestyle star, the 16-year-old will show off her versatility by competing in the 50 metres, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events.
While she will contest the sprint events, it’s the long-distance races that she enjoys the most. And the events she’s had considerable success at major championships in recent months.
Sharman claimed silver at the NSW State Championships in the 400m and 800m freestyle events and won gold in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle at the NSW Country Championships.
The Corrimal swimmer will be joined at the championships by clubmate Georgia Smyth, who will compete in the multiclass 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly.
Sharman’s most looking forward to the 400m, a race long enough to allow the swimmers to find a rhythm, but not so long that it’s a pure long-distance event.
“I love freestyle because it’s the fastest stroke,” Sharman said.
“I feel like that’s what I’m meant to be swimming. I like the longer distances, preferably the 400m. I think the 400m is just a good distance to find a pace and settle into the race.”
Sharman’s mother, Renee, said it was good to see all of her hard work finally bringing results. Renee is looking forward to seeing her daughter yet again challenge herself at nationals.
“I’m super proud,” Renee said. “She’s been training really hard and now is finally getting some good results.
"She’s had a lot of results starting to come through this season and a lot of that is thanks to Tracy Waters, who’s been coaching her since she was seven.”
The competition kicks off on Saturday April 21 and runs for a week.