Tom Donnelly, Joshua Saiti -Dixon, Claveria Johnson-Tiumalu and Ella Ramsay won medals at the Australian School swimming championships in Darwin.
Tom Donnelly, Joshua Saiti -Dixon, Claveria Johnson-Tiumalu and Ella Ramsay won medals at the Australian School swimming championships in Darwin. Rob Williams

Rising talents meet national standards

IT wasn't only the terrific efforts of the young swimmers that impressed respected Ipswich coach Heath Ramsay.

It was how they handled the testing conditions.

Sydney 2000 Olympian Heath Ramsay was in Darwin with his daughter Ella for the recent School Sport Australia national championships.

Other regional swimmers competing included Laura Brosnan, Tom Donnelly, Claveria Johnson-Tiumalu, Mollie O'Callaghan, Joshua Saiti-Dixon and Olivia Williams.

Ramsay was thrilled with how the contingent performed representing their schools and Queensland team.

"They swam exceptionally well considering the conditions that they are not used to,'' Ramsay said.

"It was an outdoor pool and no warm-up pool.''

The Western Aquatics Swim Club head coach said the kids aged 11-12 had to adjust quickly to temperatures around 30 degrees and 96 percent humidity.

"It was pretty uncomfortable,'' Ramsay said. "But they were all doing PBs (personal bests) in the heats and finals.

"It was a good experience actually for them not having the perfect conditions to do it all the time.''

St Peter Springfield swimmer Claveria had an outstanding meeting, winning four events and placing second in the 400m freestyle relay. She swam a number of personal bests.

Mollie, from the Springfield Anglican College, collected a gold, two silvers and a bronze.

Ipswich swimmer Mollie O'Callaghan
Ipswich swimmer Mollie O'Callaghan

Consistent West Moreton Anglican College performer Ella won two 200m events, also collecting a second and third from a big program.

Her dad Heath said it was especially pleasing to see how all the kids responded, given what was seen by Australia's elite swimmers at the recent Rio Olympics.

"The biggest thing they can all take away from it is I didn't see too many kids fall apart (under the higher level pressure),'' he said.

"Every time was fast and the heats were fast to get into finals.

"I think they can all be extremely proud how they performed.

"And to be hearing back from the Olympics, you've got to put kids, or teenagers, in different circumstances.

"If you give them ideal conditions all the time, then when there's something you didn't quite like, they won't be able to deal with it.''

The national titles in Darwin were the last major carnival for school swimmers this year.

However, the club season is just starting to gain momentum with the best swimmers looking to qualify or prepare for the state titles later in the year.

Top efforts

Regional swimmers who impressed at the recent national school titles in Darwin.

Claveria Johnson-Tiumalu (St Peters Springfield): 1st 100m freestyle (PB), 1st 50m freestyle (PB), 1st 200m medley relay, 1st 200m freestyle relay, 2nd 400m freestyle relay, 4th 50m backstroke (PB), 5th 50m butterfly (PB), 5th 100m backstroke (PB).

Mollie O'Callaghan (The Springfield Anglican College): 1st 200m medley relay, 2nd 100m backstroke (PB), 2nd 50m backstroke (PB), 3rd 200m freestyle relay.

Ella Ramsay (WestMAC): 1st 200m medley relay, 1st 200m freestyle relay, 2nd 50m butterfly (PB), 2nd 400m freestyle relay, 3rd 50m freestyle (PB), 5th 100m butterfly (PB).

Olivia Williams (IGGS): 1st 50m breaststroke (PB), 2nd 200m medley relay.

Joshua Saiti-Dixon (IGS): 2nd 200m freestyle (PB), 2nd freestyle relay, 3rd 100m freestyle (PB).

Tom Donnelly (IGS): 3rd 100m breaststroke (PB), 4th 200m medley relay, 5th 50m breaststroke (PB).

Laura Brosnan (IGGS): 4th 400m medley, 6th 200m medley.