by David Lems
AS one of the most experienced swimming coaches in the region Paul Sansby has every reason to be excited and encouraged about the new season starting to crank up.
A group of his Waterworx Swim Club competitors recently won medals at the Brisbane Open Water Championships at Kawana Waters.
Sisters Mollie and Sophie O'Callaghan impressed with top two efforts, along with Kaia Sugars and Dylan Smith finishing third in their events.
Mollie and Sophie are hoping to contest next year's Commonwealth Games trials after lining up at the Queensland Open Water Championships at Lake Kawana on October 21.
With more than a dozen of his current squad on target to qualify for the state titles in December, Sansby is thrilled to see his club enjoying early success.
At the open water meet, Mollie won her 13 year event over 2.5km.
Sophie was second in the 16 year swim (5km).
Kaia was third in the 11 years 2.5km event.
Dylan's third was in the 15 years 5km swim.
Sophie and Dylan also qualified for the Open Water Nationals in Adelaide in January.
Other Waterworx swimmers who entered the Brisbane open water meet for experience included Ethan Harris, Jasmine Harris, Alexandra McClelland, Zoe Pekerti, Ewan Rubie, Brianna Smith and Sonja Vander Zant.
"They did a great job,'' Sansby said.
"We had a lot of kids there that had never done it before.''
Sansby was pleased to see younger swimmers like Kaia win a medal in only her second season swimming against stronger competitors.
"Kaia, last year, was a little bit nervous and didn't go fast enough on the way out because they are scared of not being able to make it,'' Sansby said.
"Once you've done it once, all of a sudden it becomes 'that's not as scary as I first thought'.
"That's a great result.
"She's done a good job little Kaia. She's pretty tough.''
Sansby praised Dylan's effort considering he was recovering from illness.
Mollie led from start to finish in her latest open water effort. She is hoping to swim the 50m and 100m backstroke at next year's Commonwealth Games trials.
Another club regular Jacinta Ticehurst is focusing on the 200m butterfly with such a big opportunity looming.
Sansby, the Waterworx club head coach since 2000, has about 30 competitive swimmers in his current squad.
He was also pleased with the group of 15 he took to Tasmania recently for their state meeting.
Closer to home, Waterworx and Ipswich Grammar last weekend hosted a time trial meet to help regional competitors gain state and other qualifying times.
Sansby said the Queensland Championships at Chandler from December 9-15 were one of the main focuses for his squad.
He's keen to see regional clubs continue the great work they did last season helping the best swimmers gain more opportunities and achieve their goals.
That includes taking Ipswich teams to other centres for competition, like a previous challenge against Toowoomba.