Woogaroo's bright and bubbly duo impress
WINNING 14 gold medals and setting 14 personal bests would make any swimming combination happy at international level.
But for two promising competitors from the Woogaroo Swimming Club, that was reward for their recent improvements in the pool.
Hamid Bah, 11, and Moale Ampa'oi, 13, returned to their parents' country of birth to share in the medal haul at the recent PNG Nationals.
Hamid set personal bests in each of his nine events.
Moale achieved five personal bests and won six gold medals from her seven swims.
Woogaroo coach Stephen Ballhause was thrilled to see the up and coming swimmers compete overseas as much as bettering their times.
"The main focus was to expose them to the international level, especially in their own country,'' Ballhause said.
"The gold medals are just bonuses.''
The Woogaroo club based at the Goodna Aquatic Centre welcomes young swimmers from a range of backgrounds.
Ballhause said Hamid and Moale had been popular swimmers since coming through the learn to swim program and joining the club four years ago.
"They are very bright and bubbly,'' the coach said.
"Nothing gets them down. It takes a lot to get them down or angry or anything like that.
"They come in with a very positive attitude every time they hit the water.''
Over three days of competition in PNG, Moale won gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke; and 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle.
Hamid's gold medals were in the 200m individual medley; 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke; 100m backstroke; 50m and 100m freestyle; and 50m butterfly.
"From a coaching point of view, what I'm most happy about is they are actually achieving PBs and being exposed to that international circuit - a different atmosphere, a different feeling being on the blocks,'' Ballhause said.
"Hamid is a very quiet achiever. He doesn't say too much, just gets in and does the work.
"Moale is just a lovely girl. She trains hard as well.''
Like other talented swimmers around the region, Hamid and Moale are preparing for the state championships at Chandler next month, as well as chasing qualifying times for next year's national age titles.
Ballhause is confident Woogaroo will have a small group of swimmers contesting the Queensland titles.
"As a coach, that's the best thing for them,'' Ballhause said, pleased to see Woogaroo's junior program helping swimmers achieve their goals.
Moale Ampa'oi's gold medal-winning efforts at the PNG Nationals: 200 breaststroke (3:22.55 PB); 100m freestyle (1:13.57 PB); 50m breaststroke (42.01 PB); 100m breaststroke (1:34.62 PB): 200m freestyle (2:43.89); 50m freestyle (33:01 PB).
Hamid Bah's winning events and times in PNG: 200 IM (2.54.60), 200m breaststroke (3.12.04), 100m backstroke (1.30.02), 100m freestyle (1.12.83), 100m breaststroke (1.28.68), 50m butterfly (36.05), 50 freestyle (32.51), 50m breaststroke (41.21).