Pool of talent gears up for ocean challenge

WATER BABES: Ocean swimmers (from left) Maddy Gough, Amanda Zerbe and Jess and Maddi Carah on a break from practise laps in still waters at the pool. contributed
WATER BABES: Ocean swimmers (from left) Maddy Gough, Amanda Zerbe and Jess and Maddi Carah on a break from practise laps in still waters at the pool. contributed

COFFS Harbour War Memorial Olympic Pool is a hive of activity as swimmers use the still waters to train for the buffeting to come in the Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims next Sunday.

Head coach Dean Laurence has been guiding top young talent, including Maddy Gough, 14, the third-fastest female in the 2000m event last year.

Maddy has just qualified for the 400m and 800m free-style at the Australian Age titles in Sydney next month and is also the 2014 Interbranch U15 surf swim champion covering all NSW Surf Lifesaving Clubs.

Pushing her all the way will be 15-year-old Amanda Zerbe, a gold medallist and record-holder from the 2014 North Coast championships, who has also qualified for the Australian Age event.

Sisters Jess and Maddi Carah will also be tackling the 2000m ocean swim and have been working hard over the summer with a swag of medals from recent surf lifesaving titles to show for it. Both girls are NSW Country champions.

"All our swimmers have been training hard over the past few months, both in the pool and the ocean," coach Laurence said.

"For many of the pool swimmers, taking part in the ocean swim is a good chance to test their skills."

Village Sports event director Mick Maley said competency was the only prerequisite to taking part in the event.

"You don't have to be a swimming champion to take part in the Coffs Ocean Swims," he said. "We emphasise fun and participation. All the kids in junior swims receive a ribbon and there are plenty of random prizes."

Coffs Ocean Swims feature 150m and 300m junior swims, a 600m Jetty swim for ages 10 and up and the longer 2000m swim for ages 12 and over.

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Topics:  coffs coast ocean swim coffs harbour ocean swimming swimming

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