Pooled talent offers promising future

THEY swapped desks for blocks, pens for goggles and uniforms for swimming costumes but these speedsters still managed to finish top of their class.

Nepean Aquatic Centre Swim Club representatives Summalea Arndt, Gabriel Cabban-Galtarossa, Amanda Fowler, Matthew Galea, Jenna Jones and Ben Robins all earned a place on the medal podium at the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships, held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, recently.

Shrouded in gold was 15-year-old London Paralympian Amanda Fowler, who won all eight of her events: the 50 metre butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle along with the 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and the 200m individual medley.

Jenna, who is 11 and partially sighted, picked up one gold, six silver and one bronze medal while fellow 11-year-old Ben, who is deaf, bagged two bronze medals.

Summalea, 17, snared silver in the 50m breaststroke, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle while she, Matthew, 10, and Gabriel, 13, helped NSW clutch a medal in their respective age relays.

NACSC head coach Jackie Barck said the swimmers' medal haul was a well-deserved reward after a tough preparation of commitment and sacrifice.

For Amanda, the eight gold medals came amidst her gruelling Paralympic training schedule.

"Amanda couldn't afford not to come into training," Barck said.

"She was training in morning, going down racing and then coming back training but she still swam personal best swims.

"It just shows if you're willing sometimes mind is stronger than body and you can will yourself into doing things."

Year 12 student Arndt juggled exam studies with her medal antics while Jenna braved her school national debut.

"The Paralympics were on this year and and Jenna has just turned 11 and knows that if she trains hard, she has a chance to make Rio," Barck said. "The more exposure she gets to top level swimming, the better she'll be."

Another difficulty for the swimmers was that they were racing long-course events middle of the winter season when they usually use a 25 m pool.

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