by callum dick
WOOGAROO Swimming Club coach Noel Donnelly says the commitment his swimmers have shown to honing their craft already makes them winners, regardless of how they fair at the State Swimming Championships beginning in Brisbane on Saturday.
Donnelly and fellow Woogaroo coach Stephen Ballhouse will send a field of 15 swimmers to the Brisbane Aquatic Centre for the week-long championships.
Donnelly - a veteran coach with decades of experience - said the state championships each year were a culmination of years of hard work.
"It's such a hard sport, swimming,” Donnelly said.
"As land animals trying to become proficient in water, I think it surprises most people when you compare it to other sports just how hard a swimmer has to work.
"These kids, not one of them would give less than 12 hours a week in the pool.
"And the hard part is, if you want to make it to the highest level you have to do that for 10-plus years before you know whether you've made the grade or not.
"You've got to love it, you can't go up and down the pool 20 hours a week in your teenage years if you don't love it.”
In total, Woogaroo will be represented in more than 40 races at the championships.
Sebastien Carvolth, 14,will account for eight of those, and Donnelly was full of praise for the gifted fish out of water.
"Sebastien does everything, I don't think there's a swimmer in my group that's improved more than he has,” Donnelly said.
"On the basis of pure hard work, he's improved out of sight in the last 12 months.
"He'll line up in all of those eight events and be more than competitive in all of them.”
Carvolth is one of three Woogaroo swimmers to already qualify for the national titles in Sydney next April.
Joshua Dixon and Liam Donnelly are the other two.
Dixon made a splash at last year's State Championships with a multiple-medal haul, and will be looking to add to his tally in the 100m and 200m freestyle, and 100m butterfly.
"Joshua had a lock of sickness over the winter but he's starting to come good now,” Donnelly said.
"I'm not sure how he'll go because of that, but he won't die wondering.
"He's a gutsy boy and super competitive when he gets into a race.”
Poppy Wilson (eight), Jordan Lane (six), Paige Lawson (five) and Zoe Hill (four) will also have stacked schedules.
"We won some medals last year, and hopefully we can push to win some more this year,” Donnelly said.
Woogaroo's State Championships Squad:
Hamid Bah, Sebastien Carvolth, Joshua Dixon, Madison Henness, Zoe Hill, Jordan Lane, Paige Lawson, Heather Mackie, Tabetha Silcock, Naomai Stephens, Gabriella Stokes, Poppy Wilson, Kelsey Wall, Charlize Goody, Lua Taione