Gladiators look forward to state swimming titles
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
PICTURE the scene. It is 4pm on a sunny afternoon like most are in the harbour city, a time where people are counting down to five o'clock and they can head home for the day.
Well it is not the case at the Gladstone Aquatic Centre, where a sense of excitement permeates the air as a record number of Gladstone Gladiators swimmers are in the pool completing their final preparations for the State Championships which start this Sunday.
Head coach Caroline Hayes keeps a close eye over her squad to ensure the tumble turns are smooth and everyone's stroke is just right.
This year the club is taking 16 swimmers to Chandler Aquatic Centre, a total which is the highest of any club in Central Queensland.
It can be attributed to the impact Hayes, who is known as 'Mrs Hayes' around the pool, has had on the Gladiators.
She is just as excited as her band of swimmers about what is coming up at these titles.
'The state titles are a big time for our swimmers, they are very excited to be going away,' Hayes said.
'To have what we believe is a record number of swimmers this year is great for the club, we are hoping everyone performs well.'
For the first time in a number of years, the state titles are being held before Christmas which means the Gladiators hit the water a fortnight earlier than in previous years.
'It has been an interesting year for us, having started a bit earlier, but it is going to be nice because the kids get to enjoy Christmas with family without the worry of having to taper,' Hayes said.
'Hopefully all the kids will be rewarded for their hard work.'
So as the working day draws to an end, Mrs Hayes tells her charges to take some time out for a photo. This is their chance to shine out of the pool and from the great reaction of the kids, they enjoy the limelight.
If they can shine next week, they may well be in for a little bit more.
The championships are being held at the Chandler Aquatic Centre, in Brisbane.
They start on Sunday and end on Friday, December 16.
Gladiators members going away: Jessica Collins, Hannah Curran, Melissa Hankinson, Antoinette Hayes, Michael Hankinson, Alex Kujanpaa, Amy Quartermaine, Hayley Quartermaine, Corey Brown, Daniel Brown, Jarryd Brown, Thomas Hayes, Xavier Player, Broughton McIntyre, Steve Kanowski, Paul Clarke.