Rocky teens represent RGS at national swimming championships
SWIMMING: It might be one of the coldest places to visit this time of the year, but Rockhampton swimmers Jacob Spark and Joe Milburn are aiming to turn up the heat in Hobart this week.
The Caribeae Swimming Club duo will lead the Queensland medal hunt at the Australian Schools Swimming Championships held in Tasmania, starting on Thursday.
Spark, 17, will compete in the 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly events, along with relays, while Milburn, 16, will contest the 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley and relay events - thankfully in a heated indoor pool.
Spark said he was pumped to defend his 50m butterfly national schools title he won in Adelaide last year.
"This is my last year of school and I'm really keen to do well,” the Rockhampton Grammar School year 12 student said.
"Last year I did really well at the Pacific School Games (in Adelaide). I got first in my 50m butterfly and that time that I did got me to Commonwealth Games trials (on the Gold Coast).”
Spark has only been back in "full training” in the pool for the past two weeks after representing his school at the Confraternity Shield rugby league carnival in Charters Towers, where he gained selection in the Queensland merit team.
"I've really been knuckling down to get my training in and it's been good with all the Caribeae team around me and pushing me. It's really been helping me achieve my goals at the moment,” the talented athlete said.
Fellow Grammar School student Milburn, is equally determined to bring home some silverware back to CQ.
Milburn won gold in both the 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley finals at the Queensland Schools Championships in Brisbane earlier this year.
"Last year I went down to the Pacific School Games and I was the younger age of the 15-16 years age group, where as this year I'm older so I should have a better chance,” the year 11 student said.
"There's been many swim training sessions a week in preparation and then two gym sessions a week at Vector Health, which is further work on what we're doing in the pool and making it all come together.”
Caribeae head coach Jodie Shanks is confident the pair will put Rockhampton on the map once again on the national stage.
"They're both quite experienced at this level. Jacob's won multiple medals at nationals and Joey's now competing at his third time down there at national level,” she said.
"Jacob is very athletically gifted and whatever he does he can do quite well. He has got a really good chance in the three individual events that he will be racing.
"Joe's got a lot of potential and he works so hard and it's that consistency of hard work that he's starting to get really good results from now.
"The younger kids at training really look up to the boys in what they do.”
Racing starts in Hobart on Thursday and finishes next Tuesday.