Maddy does Coffs proud swimming for Australia
COFFS Harbour's Maddy Gough has produced the swims of her life in her Australian debut at the Pan Pacific Championships in Japan - but you get the feeling her best is yet to come.
The 19-year-old rookie, finished the meet with a fourth in the 400m freestyle, a sixth in the 1500m freestyle and a seventh in the 800m freestyle with a five second PB in her timed final.
Up against the best, all three of the events were won by multiple American Olympian and record holder Katie Ledecky, who recorded some of the fastest times swum in history.
"It was an unbelievable experience to be a part of the Dolphins team at a major international meet," Maddy told The Advocate.
"I was pretty nervous to be competing against some of the best swimmers in the world, but I was really, really happy to be able to get big PBs in all of my events.
"I think all of the coaches were happy, too.
Dolphins head coach Jacco Verhaeren said he is convinced Australia has the talent to make some serious waves at the 2019 Pan Pacs in Korea and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, singling out the now Gold Coast-based rookie Gough for praise.
Maddy's proud parents Cindy and Jeremy were poolside in Tokyo.
"It was almost surreal watching Maddy being introduced to the crowd and then race against Olympic champions and world record holders, but she handled all the pressure so well," mum Cindy said.
"She is incredible and we couldn't be more proud of everything she has achieved."
Dad Jeremy praised Maddy's junior coaches Dean Laurence, Eugene Brogmus and Tim Raven and her current mentor Chris Nesbitt for her rise in world swimming.
"Right from when she was young, (they) always said she was willing to push herself to the limit ... and it's great to see it is all paying off.
"I think Maddy loved being on the big stage and, knowing her, she will now come back and work even harder in training to try to make future teams."