Tea Gardens swimmer to take on State Championships

Kayleigh at her home base, Tea Gardens Pool, getting ready for the State Championships in April.

YOUNG local swimmer Kayleigh Thompson will go to the NSW State swimming championships next month, after winning at the Hunter Regional Championships at The Forum, Newcastle University, on Tuesday 12 March.

First winning at the Tea Gardens Public School (TGPS) swimming carnival, Kayleigh then represented her school and won at the Port Stephens Zone Carnival, which took her to the Hunter Regionals.

Of the 50 or so swimmers at the Regional Carnival, only Kayleigh and one other qualified for the next level, which is the NSW PSSA State competition, due to take place at Sydney Olympic Park on 11-12 April.

“Kayleigh started swimming at nine months old,” Kayleigh’s mum, Lauren, told NOTA.

“It’s all driven by her, she loves it, in the water any spare moment, and she decided last year to go all the way to Nationals, so she’s getting pretty close!”

Kayleigh is also a Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Surf Life Saving Club Nipper, and was awarded equal first in her U-8s age-group last week, evidence of a clear talent, cultivated by the dedication of those around her, including her mum and coaches at Tea Gardens Pool’s squads training.

“She is the fastest girl in the region in eight-years freestyle,” Tea Gardens Pool lifeguard Raymond Edgerton told NOTA.

“Her time was a very fast 42 seconds for the 50 metre event, and she beat her personal best by a massive seven seconds.

Warren, one of her coaches at the pool, said, “Her Mum has done wonderful work on endurance and fitness in the pool, done so much for her progression.

“Kayleigh is a determined one, she keeps up with her swimming buddy, Lillian, who’s two years older, and everybody is excited for her.

“I know she’ll do her best.”

No doubt, having a State-level swimmer from our own local area is a huge achievement for such a young girl.

Soon, she makes the trip to the state’s capital to compete at the State Championships in April.

If Kayleigh can channel her obvious passion and talent for the pool, her next stop may well be Nationals, but being in the youngest age-group, she has plenty of years ahead, perhaps even on the road to the Olympics.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Proud medallist and Regional Champion Kayleigh Thompson at Newcastle’s Forum.

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