COMPETING against China's swimming sensation Ye Shiwen would be intimidating for most, but Rocky City Swimming Club's Alanna Bowles was unfazed by the wunderkind.
The 14-year-old Bowles and the 2012 London Olympic 400 metre individual medley gold medallist went head to head at the weekend, contesting the 400IM at the Beijing leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup.
"She (Alanna) was up against 16-year-old Ye Shiwen who smashed the world record winning gold for the 400m IM...the fields in Beijing were very strong," Bowles' coach Shane Kingston said.
As expected, Shiwen took out the final, while Bowles placed a creditable sixth overall. She also swam in the 200m butterfly and finished fifth, while she touched home in seventh in the 800m freestyle.
Kingston, who remained in Rockhampton to continue preparing the rest of his squad for next month's state long course titles, said Bowles was slightly off the pace in Beijing.
"She did not quite swim personal best times, but it was not too bad considering it was her international meet," he said.
Bowles was selected into the six-strong Australian contingent to compete at the final three rounds of the FINA Swimming World Cup, and left for China last week, travelling overseas for the first time without her parents.
She is currently in Tokyo, and will head to Singapore to swim in her final two-day open short course meet this weekend.
"Alanna swam in the 800m free on Tuesday and was fourth overall - she did a faster time than in Beijing, and went very close to her PB, which is a good sign she is settling down," Kingston said.
Speaking to her via text message, the coach said Bowles was positive, and not disappointed that she had not swam a PB as yet, which was something he feared.
By the time she reached Singapore, where Bowles will contest the 200m butterfly, 400m IM and 200m freestyle, Kingston believed she would be on top of her game.
"Singapore should be a bit easier for her, as she will be more in her comfort zone...if she continues to perform and finish in the top eight of every race she is in, that would not be a bad achievement."
It was only her first time competing overseas, and she would only improve with more international experience, he added.