Split seconds will separate swimmers
AS hopes of progression lie on a knife-edge, Trinity Lismore competitors are putting in the hours to secure spots among the state's best young swimming talent.
Several representatives from the club will be looking for strong performances and, more importantly, improved times at this weekend's NSW Country regional meet in Lismore.
It is one of the final opportunities for swimmers to earn places at competitions including the NSW Country Championships.
Trinity club head coach Ken Malcolm said some of his charges were working hard to qualify.
"I have half a dozen kids who are missing out by six-hundredths of a second at the moment," he said.
"This is a good opportunity for them to get those times they need.
"They are primed for it."
More than 30 Trinity swimmers will be in action at the Lismore Memorial Baths event, including Samantha McKenna.
The 15-year-old is carving out a promising career in the sport, having qualified for the forthcoming Age Championships in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
Good times this weekend could enable versatile Samantha to earn spots competing in longer distances at the championships, which will feature some of the country's best young swimmers.
"Samantha is a nice girl - but she has that toughness you need as well," Malcolm said.
"There are a few kids like that in the club now. They are training really well and want to improve."
Numerous state qualifiers from the club will be swimming as well, including Sam and Madeline Nilon, Karla Gilmore, Kalani Varcoe, Jemma and Elsie Cooper, Georgia Callaghan, Ella Penhey, Keisha Stewart and Macey Jenson.
More than 200 gun swimmers from about 45 clubs will attend the two-day event, racing in different age divisions and disciplines.
Malcolm is in his sixth year of coaching at the club.
"I love seeing the kids do well and getting them to be the best they want to be," he said.
"The kids who have the biggest heart are great to teach.
"They may not have the best technique, but they love racing.
"I love it."
Warm-up starts at 9am on Saturday and at 8am on Sunday, with racing starting soon after.