Four Gladiators leave Gladstone to pursue swimming stardom
GLADSTONE Gladiators often have swimmers leave the club to move south into metropolitan areas, chasing the dream of becoming Olympians at bigger clubs.
It is not by choice the club sees them go, only able to offer a certain amount of resources before the talented young swimmers need to find the highest level of coaching and customised programs.
Each year a couple of kids will decide to follow their dream, yet it is usually done in single doses; only one leaving at any given time.
Not in 2014. In the coming two weeks, a total of four of the Gladiators are on the move, each heading to different destinations in the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Although the club is sad to see the swimmers moving to reach for their goals, coaches and the committee alike are beaming they have been able to help out so many kids.
Andrew McLean is one of the swimmers heading to greener pastures, and knows without the help he and his friends had in Gladstone it would not be possible.
"It is funny we are all leaving at the same time," McLean said with a laugh, with his fellow departing swimmers, Rongo Goodhew, Ayden Tchernegovski and Jack Cartwright.
"We would like to thank Caroline Hayes for coaching us for so long and getting us to where we are today, we could not have done it without her."
While McLean is already in the Open age group and will be heading to Griffith University on a sport college and honours college basis, it will still be a few years until the three younger swimmers compete directly against him.
Ayden, 14, is off to Anglican Church Grammar on an Excellence Scholarship, Jack, 15, to St Peters Lutheran College and Rongo, 14, on a three year scholarship at The Southport School.
While it will be a while until the four see each other in the neighbouring lanes, all are setting their sights big on Olympics, or maybe meeting at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.