Gold rush has Abbey Harkin eyeing higher honours

MAITLAND swim sensation Abbey Harkin had an off day at the NSW All Schools championship at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre yesterday.

Harkin only made the final in all seven events she contested and took home two gold and two silver medals.

‘‘My times weren’t very good, I was a fair way off my best but I placed in four events so I’m happy with that,’’ Harkin said yesterday.

‘‘We haven’t been in heavy training. We are just getting into light training after coming back from nationals.’’

Harkin’s expectations are rising after a stellar performances at the national age championships in Brisbane last month.

The Maitland Grossmann High School student, who celebrated her 14th birthday on Sunday, won the 100-metre breaststroke, 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley in the 12-13 years girls’ division in Brisbane as well as taking silver in the 400m IM.

Yesterday the Louth Park teenager won the 12-14 years 200m and 400m medleys and claimed silver in the 100m breaststroke and 14 years 50m breaststroke.

The Year 8 student, who qualified for 11 events at all schools but swam in seven on the one-day program, also made the final in the 14 years 50m freestyle and 12-14 years 200m breaststroke and 200m freestyle.

Every success is another stop on the path to her dream of representing Australia at an Olympic Games.

‘‘I just want to do the best I can each time,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s my long-term goal but I just go little steps at a time.’’

It is a dream coach Michael Legge thinks Harkin can achieve.

And Legge, who guides Harkin as part of his duties with Novocastrian Swim Club at Coughlan’s Swim Centre at Warners Bay, believes she could realise that dream in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro.

‘‘One day, you never know. Hopefully she does,’’ Legge said.

‘‘We identified Abbey years ago, she’s always been a natural in the water and she’s always had that racing edge.

‘‘The Olympics are in four years, you never know. You just keep chipping away at small steps at a time.’’

Legge has coached Harkin since she learned to swim as a three-year-old and puts her success down to natural talent and her can-do attitude.

‘‘As a person, she’s always willing to just have a go,’’ he said.

‘‘No matter what, she just keeps chipping away.’’

Harkin will enjoy a short break from heavy training before focusing her energy on preparing to represent Australia in July.

She earned selection with her national age triumphs for a trans-Tasman series of meetings in Canberra Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.

Her next assignment after that will be the national all schools championships.

But Harkin will not be lazing about between meetings.

The all-rounder dabbles in netball, AFL, soccer and surf lifesaving outside of her first sporting love.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide