Fitzhenry set to make a splash in Adelaide

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Promising Sydney University Program Age Group Gold Squad representative Francesca Fitzhenry will make her major meet debut this Thursday at the 2013 Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age Championships, held at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre in Adelaide.

The 13 year old Rosebank College student, who has been swimming at Sydney University for the last 12 months, will compete in the heats of the 200m butterfly on Thursday morning before a possible show down in the final later that day.

Francesca has been in excellent form in the lead up to this week’s nationals after making the Girls 13 Years 200m butterfly final of the NSW State Age Championships, which were held early in the New Year.

New Sydney University Swimming Program Age Group Gold Squad Coach Leanne Thompson, who will accompany Francesca to Adelaide on Monday to continue her training in the lead up to her swim on Thursday, is confident that her young swimmer has prepared well.

“Francesca’s hard work and dedication in the training pool has paid off with her first trip to Australian Age this year,” said Thompson.

“Since qualifying Francesca has put in some impressive performances at training which will set her up well for a great first up performance at Australian Age Group level.”

In the years to come it is hoped that Francesca will progress to being part of the new Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) and NSWIS Swimming Program of Excellence middle distance squad, which is under the stewardship of former New Zealand Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games coach Scott Talbot.

Talbot is the program’s Senior Coach and middle distance specialist. Working alongside him is Head Coach and sprint specialist Grant Stoelwinder. Stoelwinder has also coached Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimmers, including guiding Eamon Sullivan to a 50m freestyle world record in 2008.    

Unfortunately for Thompson she will be heading to Adelaide this week without a second swimmer, Paige Burland, who also qualified for Championships but is not making the trip due to injury.

Paige, having previously competed in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Australian Age Championships, will turn her focus towards gaining a solid year of training under her belt in order to return to the National Age Group level in 2014.

Thompson is confident that in the future there will be even more Sydney University representatives at the Australian Age Championships and that the Sydney University Swim Club junior program is heading in the right direction.

“The future of Age Group swimming at Sydney Uni looks very bright with a very talented group of junior swimmers coming through who will look to compete at the national level in the coming years,” explained Thompson. 

Thompson is hopeful that up to four swimmers will gain berths to next year’s Australian Age Championships, which would be a great achievement for the Sydney University Program Age Group Gold Squad.

The Australian Age Championships run from Monday 8 April to Monday 15 April. The event will incorporate the selection trials for the 2013 World Junior Championships and 2013 National Youth Camp; and will see Australia’s future swimming stars competing for the opportunity to be crowned Australian Age Champion.

To follow the results of Fitzhenry and many other swimmers at this week’s Australian Age Championships, please click here.