Kiama teens thrash into national swimming championships

Seven Kiama teens are in Adelaide this week to compete in the national swimming championships.

All seven beat national average times to earn a place in the competition - no mean feat for a club their size.

The squad has been training up to 14 hours a week in the pool - plus extra sessions on land - for the past 12 months in preparation for the event.

Competitior Bailey Hazlewood said he trained from 5am-7am Monday-Friday, plus afternoon training sessions and strength and conditioning work.

 "I have a timetable at home to manage my time," he said.

"I just want to better myself every session. I love the reward that comes with it."

Eva Katjaer said she was ecstatic to make the qualifying time, after missing out last year.

"It's fun, just trying to get the qualifying time, waking up every single morning," she said.

"You get a time, and you're .01 seconds off every time you try. When you finally look at your coach and they say you've got it, it's really exciting."

Outside of swimming and school, the students said their main activity was eating to fuel their bodies for the high training load.

Coach Victor Mancilla said he was "extremely proud", and credited a "person-centred" approach to training with the team's success.

"We tell them if they want to train, the minimum days is four, but if you want to go to nationals you might think about going to five, six or seven," he said.

"So they start striving. In the mornings when I arrive, they're already there waiting for the doors to open. It's not me cracking the whip, it's me asking and they do."

Mr Mancilla said he was motivated to create a supportive training environment by his own experiences.

"I started (coaching) in 2005," he said.

"I was working as a lifeguard. I hated the pool, I never wanted to return after my experiences as a teenager.

"I saw two kids swimming in the pool, asked if they wanted some help. That's how I fell back into it."

Eva said Mr Mancilla's approach made the squad a family: "We love training, we love the reward, we love the people."

Back row: Coach Victor Mancilla, Kaylah Brennan, Sarah Williams, Nathan Robinson, Nick Bamford. Front row: Bailey Hazlewood, Eva Katkjaer, absent Jayden Wells.

Back row: Coach Victor Mancilla, Kaylah Brennan, Sarah Williams, Nathan Robinson, Nick Bamford. Front row: Bailey Hazlewood, Eva Katkjaer, absent Jayden Wells.

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