16 November 2023

Olympic goals for Cooktown swimmers heading to States

| Sarah Martin
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Cooktown swimmers Rudi Habermann, Haila Hegamaea and Sam Ryder are fundraising to get to the national championships in Brisbane. Photo: Sarah Martin.

Olympic dreams are a step closer for three Cooktown swimmers, who are training and fundraising hard after qualifying for the State Championships in Brisbane.

Sam Ryder, 16, Rudi Habermann, 13, and Haila Hegamaea, 12, qualified for the State Championships after a stellar performance at the Country Swimming Championships in Darwin in September.

Proud Cooktown Amateur Swimming Club president Melissa Gunton said the whole team was extremely proud of their qualifiers.

“This is a great opportunity for our children who only train five days a fortnight, whereas members from other teams who have qualified for this event train on average at least seven times per week,” Ms Gunton said.

“We would like to thank the community for supporting us with fundraising and also people from all over Australia who have made a donation through our GoFundMe page.”

Ms Gunton will travel to Brisbane with the trio, who will be under the wing of Central Cairns swimming coach Herbie Howard as they take on the State’s best at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre on 9 December.

The young swimmers and their teammates have been hard at work fundraising for the trip through their GoFundMe page, as well as weekend car washes and raffles.

“We need to raise around $7000 and we have raised about $5000 so far,” Ms Gunton said.

“A huge shout out to the businesses who have helped us with sponsorship and donations – Hinterland Aviation, Cornett’s IGA Cooktown, Cooktown Bakery and Cooktown Hardware.”

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