The one to watch in lead up to Rio de Janeiro Olympics
FIFTEEN year-old Alanna Bowles is proving she will be one to watch as the countdown to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics ticks by.
The quietly confident Rocky City Swim Club member powered to a silver medal in the gruelling 800m freestyle event at the 2013 Energy Australia Swimming Championships on Thursday night, with a time of 8:30:12 seconds.
Two seconds faster, and Bowles would have swum the qualifying time for the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona later this year.
Her stunning 800m swim, along with a fifth place in the 200m butterfly final on Tuesday, puts her in contention for a berth in the Australian team to contest the World Junior Championships, at Dubai in August.
The Open team was set to be named following the conclusion of the week long nationals at Adelaide's South Australia Aquatic Centre last night (Friday), and with the Junior team to be named soon after that.
Bowles qualified for the 800m fourth fastest in Wednesday's heats with a "casual" time of 8:40 - not quite a personal best time for the Emmaus College student, but it set her up in a good position for the final.
Swimming in lane six, Bowles lined up against London Olympian Jessica Ashwood as well as dual national champion Katie Goldman in the final.
Bowles and her coach Kingston had spoken race tactics ahead of the final, and at the 200m mark, the gutsy swimmer was right where Kingston wanted her to be.
"She put herself in the race, she was with the right people and not stuck with people who were going to drop back," Kingston said.
Bowles stuck with the leaders for the entire race and with 300m to go, Ashwood, 19, put the hammer down and accelerated to gain metres, and eventually secure gold, with a time of 8:24.63.
The Rockhampton swimmer then sprinted home to touch in second, swimming over the top of Goldman, in third with 8:31:06.
"I knew she had it in her, but she had to pull it out...it was a great swim and a great achievement to get second at the nationals, at just 15," a proud Kingston said.
He added she had certainly put her hand up for a place in the Australian Junior team, but there were no guarantees until the final selection was announced.
Another highlight for Kingston during the week included Rocky City claiming second in the 4x200m Freestyle.
"That's a massive achievement for a little club from Central Queensland," he said.
Kingston had coached at Rocky City Swim Club for over 10 years, and he said it was the special culture he helped to develop during that time, which made the club stand out.
On the final day of competition, Bowles and Karleigh Banks were scheduled to contest the 400m individual medley heats.