Bendigo medley team qualifies for national meet

CARMEN Franz, Holly Hawke, Kate Jordan and Rebecca Holmes will go head-to-head with Australia’s best swimmers on Tuesday.

The Bendigo East quartet has made history for the proud swimming club.

It is the first time a Bendigo open relay team has qualified for the Australian Swimming Championships.

The four young swimmers will travel to Brisbane for the event where almost 700 swimmers are set to take to the pool.

Reigning world champions Cate Campbell, James Magnussen and Christian Sprenger are all expected to take part in the event.

This year’s premier swim meet also doubles as national selection event for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast.

The Bendigo team is one of 11 to qualify for the medley relay.

Franz will lead out the Bendigo medley with the backstroke while Hawke, the youngest of the four at 15-years-old will anchor the team.

As well as competing in the medley, Jordan will also swim in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Earlier this year she won a gold medal in the women's 16 years 50m breaststroke at the Victorian State Age Sprint Championships. 

Holmes will also swim in the 50m and 100m butterfly events.

She will come up against the likes of five-time world championship silver medallist Alicia Coutts and young gun Yolane Kukla.

Bendigo East Swimming Club head coach Tony Rodda said the four girls travelling to Brisbane had worked extremely hard to get to the national level.

“To have four swimmers at the national championships is a great reward for all the hard training, and shows the great depth in the club,” he said.

“The support they have given each other to improve their times to all get there has been outstanding.”

Rodda said if the girls could finish in the top 10 at the meet it would be a superb result for the girls.

“It is something that hasn't been done by a team from Bendigo for many years, if ever,” he said.

Rodda said the girls’ achievement would provide the club’s younger swimmers some inspiration and encouragement.

Swimming Australia National Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren said the trials would showcase some of the best swimmers from across Australia.

“We have a good mix of emerging talent and experienced competitors entered, and I think that this will make for an exciting event and some strong times," he said. 

Following the championships in Brisbane the four swimmers will return to Bendigo for a week before travelling to Sydney for the Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Swimming Championships.

The Australian Swimming Championships will be held at Sleeman Sports Complex in Brisbane between Tuesday and Sunday.

Finals will be broadcast on Network 10 and One. 

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