Cooktown’s swimming superstars have doubled the number of qualifying swimmers from their 2022 foray to the Darwin Country Swimming Championships, taking a massive team of 10 youngsters to the Territory event this week.
Cooktown Amateur Swimming Club head coach Donald Macmillan said the team had been training extremely hard all year to qualify.
“Having 10 swimmers from Cooktown competing is an amazing achievement for the team,” Mr Macmillan said.
“And we had even more swimmers from Cooktown with qualifying times who are not yet old enough to go as the minimum age is 12.
“I’m exceptionally proud of them and what they have achieved so far and am blown away by the generosity from those who have helped the team with fundraising, and the heartfelt support and great community spirit shown.”
Among the team ready for Darwin is Mr Macmillan’s son Carrick, who has a special training tool that has helped him prepare for the event – best mate Rudi Habermann.
“We have a mostly friendly rivalry, except when we play water polo in training,” Rudi joked.
“Then we completely go, it’s not very friendly at that point, we keep track of who wins more than the other all the time,” Carrick said.
The boys are training partners at Cooktown Amateur Swimming Club, but also compete against each other in the same age class.
“I’m always striving to beat Carrick, so it makes me work harder,” Rudi, who also qualified for Darwin, said.
“Knowing he is there in the same races makes me drive harder and push myself that extra bit,” Carrick said.
And how do Rudi and Carrick think they will go in Darwin when they race against each other?
The friendly rivalry continues, with both boys admitting they each have stronger strokes and will likely win an even amount.
“I’m better in freestyle and butterfly, but Carrick is better at backstroke and breaststroke, so we usually get half of our races each,” Rudi said.
Mr Macmillan said the boys were amongst the most consistent in their training and put in 100 per cent effort every time.
“However, the thing that makes me most proud of them is that despite their obvious desire to beat each other, they’re the first to congratulate the other, they cheer each other on when not competing and their pool rivalry ends the second they’re out of the water – true mateship,” he said.
“Rudi, like all our swimmers, will be chasing some personal bests in Darwin, and also a country nationals final place in 100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke.
“Carrick will also be chasing PBs across all events but is focused on qualifying for the 50m free, 100m back, 100m free, 50m back and 100m breast.”
The boys, aged 12 and 13, will join fellow Cooktown swimmers Haila Hegamaea, Natalie Treloar, Isla Winton, Cruze Ryder, Jett Ryder, Sam Ryder, Lakea Hegamaea and Slayde Whittaker in Darwin.
“The Country Championships is a national level event for clubs based outside of the metro centres like Brisbane and Sydney, and there will be an expected 500 competitors attending,” Mr Macmillan said.
“The team have been in the final stages of prep training with an intense ‘Hell Week’ program consisting of up to five hours a day in and out of the pool.”
Hell Week wrapped up on Saturday with a monster 100 75m sprints, or 300 laps, with a light training week this week before the team flies out to Darwin on 28 September for four days of competition.