Poppy setting course for Paris following gold rush
SWIMMING: Woogaroo Swimming Club superfish Poppy Wilson is now a six-time national champion after sweeping the pool at the recent 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide.
During a packed program last month, Wilson contested 10 events across the final two-and-a-half days of competition, with the exceptional multi-class athlete bringing home an incredible haul of six gold and two silver medals.
The indomitable 15-year-old raced to victory in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m and 100m backstroke, and the 50m and 100m butterfly.
Silvers came in the 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley, and she narrowly missed the podium in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, finishing fourth.
Wilson, who attends Mount Gravatt's Seton College, said she was thrilled with her achievements given the elite standard of the athletes she encountered.
"It feels weird,” she said of being crowned national champion in multiple events.
"I'm very proud. There was lots of competition.”
It was not Wilson's first time entering a major meet after taking part in the Commonwealth Games trials at the Gold Coast last year and nationals twice before, picking up numerous bronze medals.
However, she reached new heights this time around.
Ecstatic coach Stephan Ballhause said it took an amazing effort by his talented protege to back-up event after event and continually perform at her best.
"No rest for the wicked,” he said. "I'm very proud.”
Ballhause said Wilson had travelled south with hopes of improving her personal bests and she had surpassed all expectations, beating her previous marks in four events, including the 400m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m breastroke and 50m backstroke.
"She was chasing good times,” he said.
"I always tell Poppy medals are a bonus.”
Understandably exhausted following the carnival of her life, Wilson will take a well-earned week off before getting back in the pool.
Training throughout the winter, she will hit the water for nine gruelling sessions and pump iron in the gym twice every week as she prepares for the State Short Course Championships in August.
Down the track Wilson dreams of making the Australian Dolphins swim team and is targeting the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
Though it could be as early as the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games that Australians see this motivated teenager make an impression on the world stage.
"Anything is possible with Poppy,” Ballhause said.