LAP QUEEN: Chinchilla’s Zahra Swoboda, 13, is preparing for this weekend's Toowoomba Open where she hopes to beat her current 50 metre freestyle short course PB of 28.65 seconds.
LAP QUEEN: Chinchilla’s Zahra Swoboda, 13, is preparing for this weekend's Toowoomba Open where she hopes to beat her current 50 metre freestyle short course PB of 28.65 seconds.

Zahra sets her own pace in the fast lane

WHILE most teenagers are rolling over in bed to hit snooze, Zahra Swoboda is clocking up the laps in the local pool.

She’s got one goal in mind: shaving the 0.06 seconds off her personal best in order to meet the national time for the 13-year-old 50m freestyle.

Swoboda’s dedication to swimming has taken a step up this year with the gutsy Chinchilla teen switching to a solo training regimen after her Dalby-based coach Brian Shorter was offered a job in Canada.

“It’s definitely mentally challenging,” Swoboda said.

“When you’re the only one in the pool it can get tough to keep pushing yourself and stay motivated.

Swoboda is preparing for this weekend's Toowoomba Open.
Swoboda is preparing for this weekend's Toowoomba Open.

“I’m used to training with a whole squad so it can get kind of lonely out there some mornings but I just keep telling myself to stick to my training plan, keep my head down and keep on swimming.”

Learning under veteran learn-to-swim teacher Lisa Olsen at five-years-old, Swoboda first began swimming competitively three years ago.

With the summer swimming season just starting up again, Swoboda has been preparing for the Toowoomba Open this weekend.

She is hoping to improve on her current personal best time of 28.65 seconds clocked in the girls 13 to 14 years 50m freestyle at the 2019 McDonald’s Queensland Short Course Championships back in August.

The impressive time managed to rank Swoboda 22nd in the state.

She has also been invited to train under Garry Shorter at the Glennie School in Toowoomba, who provides her with weekly training plans and schedules to follow.

“Garry has been a huge support to me this year,” she said.

“Training with the squad at Gelnnie once a week on Fridays just helps me keep my momentum and determination up.

“Mum and dad have also been very supportive and given up a lot of time to get me to trainings and meets so I’m grateful that they are behind me 100 per cent.”

Swoboda is preparing for this weekend's Toowoomba Open.
Swoboda is preparing for this weekend's Toowoomba Open.

The head-strong teen said she’s currently training seven days a week, with five days in the pool plus another couple of gym and personal training sessions in between.

Swoboda said her current goal is to attain two national qualifying times and rank in the top 20 for her age group.

“All the training and sacrifices are worth it when you look up at the clock at see your time,” she said.

“It makes all the early mornings and late nights and hours on the road pay off.”


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