GOULBURN Amateur Swimming Club members, Jake Cooper and James Greenlees, both recently travelled to Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre to compete in the 2013 NSW State Age Championships.
Each returned home with a new personal best time, Jake in the 100m breaststroke and James in the 50m freestyle, and a newfound respect for those elite swimmers competing at the international level.
Jake, 12, competed in the 2013 NSW 10U- 12 Years State Age Championships on Saturday. He qualified for 100m breaststroke, in which he achieved a new personal best time of 1:28.13 seconds, finishing 33rd and the 50m freestyle, where he finished with a time of 30.19 seconds.
Along with his parents Jo and Scott and sister, Zoe, Jake soon discovered that competing at state level requires colossal patience, having to wait six hours in between his first and second event, and filled in the time playing on his new iPad.
Jake returned to the warm-up pool after the six hour break and was able to step up in the 50m freestyle and swim within 0.5 of a second of his personal best. He finished 46th out of 110 boys.
James, 15, attended the NSW 13-18 Years State Age Championships on Thursday, also competing in 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle events.
In his first race of the day, the 100m breaststroke, James swam a consistent race with a time just outside of his PB. He went on to achieve a new personal best time of 26.66 seconds for the 50m freestyle later in the day.
James acknowledged that it was a vastly different environment than that of ACT or country meets, with the swimmers being far more focussed on their own race rather than meeting and interacting with other swimmers.
He likened it to those swimmers at the elite level, where a competitor remains quiet and reserved, wearing headphones, psyching out their competitors, while maintaining their focus for an event that has taken months of preparation and which can last less than 24 seconds On his previous visit to this world class venue last September, James attended as a member of the ACT Development Squad, competing at the 2012 NSW Short Course Development Meet.
On this occasion he was successful in picking up gold in the male 14 years 50m breaststroke with a winning time and PB of 33.48 seconds, and becoming the current titleholder for this event, along with bronze in 50m freestyle and silver as the anchor swimmer for the 200m freestyle relay.
Both swimmers will benefit from their recent experiences and draw on them in the future as they return to training with the YMCA squad at the Goulburn Aquatic Centre.
They now turn their attention, along with other GASC members, towards school and regional carnivals and club championships, along with the NSW Country Championships in late February and the ACT Championships in early March.
Both swimmers have already qualified for numerous events at these meets to be held at SOPAC and the AIS in Canberra.