First steps to national glory for local swimming champ
Swimming: Speed machines, top guns and other young swimmers from across Central Queensland will make their way to the WWII Memorial Aquatic Centre for the annual beef city swim carnival, hosted by Caribeae Swimming Academy.
For many, the meet is seen as a crucial stepping stone to December’s Queensland championships in Brisbane.
One of those looking to climb the ladder on the weekend is 17-year-old Joe Milburn.
Milburn is no stranger to swimming at the highest levels having competed in the 2019 Australian School Championships just three months ago.
This weekend, he will hit the water in the 17s and open divisions but is confident going into the carnival.
“I’ve been building into it a bit this season, coming off the off season,” he said.
Due to representative commitments, Milburn had to take his off season break later in the year, but he said he is prepared.
“It’s definitely pretty hard to pull off good times, especially being in such a hard training phase,” he said.
“I’ll see what I can do and hopefully it’s pretty good.”
Milburn’s weekend will see him swimming distances from 50m to 1500m.
However, he had plans to stop himself from burning out under the pressure.
“I like to pace myself at carnivals a bit,” he said.
“If I can slow down a little bit in those first races, I’ll just build through it and see how I go.”
Milburn’s core focus this carnival was to lock down some competitive times that he hoped would position him well in this season’s rep events.
Caribeae Swimming Academy’s head coach, Jodie Shanks said her team was prepared to take on the field of over 220 Central Queensland competitors from 16 clubs.
“We’ve got quite a few swimmers that are looking to get qualifying times,” she said.
“A couple of our kids are also looking at starting to qualify for nationals.”
Shanks said Caribeae swimmer Jack Kelly has already secured one nationals’ qualifier and Milburn was “on the verge” of securing his own.
“They’ll get close this weekend,” she said.