Record-breaker ready for swim
TOOLOOA State High student Melissa Hankinson is in the form of her life going into this month's Queensland secondary schools swimming championships in Brisbane.
Hankinson, 14, smashed two school records at Toolooa's interhouse swimming carnival last Friday, just two days after qualifying for the Capricornia team to compete in Brisbane.
The Year 9 student exceeded her own expectations at the Capricornia trials, hoping to qualify for state competition in the 50 metres breaststroke but ultimately earning starts in five events.
In addition to the 50m breaststroke, Hankinson will also contest the 100m breaststroke and the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle.
'I was only aiming for the 50m breaststroke and was really happy with my performance,' Hankinson said.
She backed up two days later to demolish two Toolooa High records, winning the 14 years girls 50m butterfly in 32.65 seconds and the 50m freestyle in 29.94sec, beating the old marks of 35.44sec and 31.11sec respectively.
Hankinson said the swims had not felt particularly fast, but she was "very happy'' to discover she had produced such strong efforts.
Working hard for good results is nothing new for Hankinson who maintains a high academic record at Toolooa High despite her swimming commitments.
She trains three-and-a-half hours per day Monday to Friday ? her 90-minute morning session beginning before 6am.
Hankinson admires Australian swim team member Libby Lenton and hopes to emulate some of her feats in the future.
'I look up to swimmers such as Libby Lenton as a role model, because she swims similar events to the ones I like to swim,' she said.
'With (this year's) Commonwealth Games coming up, I'd like to see myself at the 2010 event.'
Hankinson will further finetune her preparations for state competition when she contests the Central Queensland Championships at the Biloela Aquatic Centre on March 11-12.
The state secondary schools championships will be contested at Brisbane's Chandler Aquatic Centre from March 30 to April 1.