Jessica Legge sets record pace at festival

WITH a name like Jessica Legge she might sound like a runner, but this 16-year-old is fast becoming Newcastle's next superfish in the pool.The Novocastrian Swim Club athlete has enjoyed a stellar start to 2009.On Sunday Legge added an Australian Youth Olympic Festival gold medal to her growing swag when she won the 200 metres individual medley in a time of two minutes and 17.52 seconds.The time was a Youth Olympics record, beating the previous best by 0.12 seconds.She also won two relay bronze medals as part of the Australian squad in the 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle and clinched individual bronze in the 400m IM.Her Youth Olympics performance was also her personal best time by more than a second."I haven't done a PB in the 200 IM for a long time, and to set 2.17, I was just ecstatic. I didn't expect that from myself," Legge said.Legge's Youth Olympics display came only a week after she starred for the Novocastrian Swim Club at the NSW State Age Championships in Sydney.During the week-long carnival the NSW Institute of Sport swimmer captured the 16 years girls' 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke titles and finished third in the 16 years girls' backstroke and the 18 years girls' 4x200m freestyle relay."I did a lot of races at the NSW State Age, so it was pretty hard to back up for another week of competition straight after that," Legge said."I normally compete when I have lots of events backed up on each other, so it was good to keep going by the end of the week."The 17 to 18 hours of training a week with coach Paul Sharman has a lot to do with Legge's competition stamina.Besides the gruelling workload, she also fits in gym sessions, water polo and netball. School is another commitment Legge will need to juggle as she heads into year 11 at Lambton High School. If the results continue to come, an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship could be on the cards.But Legge is not losing her head."If that comes along, it's a good opportunity for myself, but I'm not really sure what's going to happen and I'm just going with the flow," she said.

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