Superlative Samantha McKenna earns medal haul in Queensland
MAYBE Samantha McKenna was born to star in the swimming pool.
The McKees Hill competitor returned with a stack of medals and personal bests from the recent Queensland Swimming Championships.
Fifteen-year-old Samantha's thrilling week at the Brisbane competition included victories in her age group 100m and 200m breaststroke races, and setting a new North Coast record in the 200m individual medley.
After trying swimming as a tot through safety lessons and then taking the sport up seriously about six years ago when coach Ken Malcolm noticed her abilities, the year 11 student is a natural in the water.
"It was unbelievable to do so well (at the competition)," she said. "I was a bit overwhelmed by it all.
"There were so many good swimmers there. I really didn't think I would go so well."
Trinity Lismore Swimming Club member Samantha started her run of success in the week-long event's opening relays. She was among Trinity's 14-and-under girls team which set a new North Coast record by two seconds in the 4 x 50m race.
Samantha, of Lismore's St John's College Woodlawn, then won gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke individual events.
Just for good measure, she reached the final of the 200m individual medley, setting a new North Coast record along the way. "I just like the social side of swimming," she said. "You make a lot of friends.
"It's good to cheer everyone else and support each other."
The Year 11 student was not the only Trinity club member to shine at the Brisbane tournament, which featured promising young swimmers from across Australia and overseas.
Younger brother Alex (14) notched three personal-best times and making the final of his age group 200m breaststroke, while swimmers from the club secured almost 30 personal-bests.
Samantha and Trinity's other high-flying competitors now have important to prepare for, including the New South Wales and Australian Age Championships. Proud mum Virginia said she was delighted with the siblings' efforts.
"It's awesome to see her and Alex doing so well," she said. "I think swimming is good for them because they have to commit to the sport. I'm proud of them."