Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

AIMING HIGH; Neale's Focus on World Championships after Glory

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

AIMING HIGH; Neale's Focus on World Championships after Glory

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LEMS

HAVING competed against the powerful Americans, Ipswich's leading swimmer has a new appreciation of what it takes to excel on the world stage.

Olympics prospect Leah Neale will refocus on trials for next year's world championships after a short break and completing her year 12 studies at St Mary's College.

However, she again proved she's among the top group in the world for her age.

Neale, 17, has returned from the Junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii with two impressive medals.

She won bronze in a personal best time in the 400m freestyle.

She swam the second leg in Australia's silver medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay team.

While heartened to make the 200, 400 and 800m freestyle finals, Neale said it was an eye-opening experience at the largest competition she'd contested.

C[pounds sterling]It was a lot harder because the American team was there,C[yen] Neale said.

Neale won four medals, including two gold, at last year's Commonwealth Youth Games in Isle of Man.

However, the Junior Pan Pacs attracted the big guns of world swimming in her 18 and under age group.

C[pounds sterling]This was higher than that one (the Youth Commonwealth Games) just because of the Americans and how dominant they are in the pool,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]They won by like 200 points.C[yen]

Newtown-based Neale said the four-day championships highlighted the level Australian swimmers had to aspire to.

C[pounds sterling]The first day I was a bit shaky but other than that it was pretty good,C[yen] the CYMS St Edmund's club swimmer said.

C[pounds sterling]I handled it pretty well.

C[pounds sterling]It was good to see where the other people are at because I'm three seconds off the girl that came first in the 400m over there.

C[pounds sterling]It makes you want to train harder to beat her. …

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