Olivia McLean’s happy place has helped her break multiple Otago records.
The 10-year-old swimmer broke five Otago records in two weeks, including one of her own, at the Wanaka Interclub and Otago Spring Carnival in Cromwell.
She broke the 10-and-under 200m backstroke record in Wanaka, and rebroke it with her time of 2min 46sec in Cromwell.
It was a distance she was working her way into, as she preferred the smaller sprints, and was surprised to crack a longer-distance record.
She also broke records for the 50m backstroke in 37sec, 100m backstroke in 1min 19sec and the 200m medley in 2min 57sec.
Hearing her team-mates and family supporting her pool-side helped her get across the line.
“I could hear them while I was in the pool.
“It was a really cool environment.”
To make her feat more impressive, Olivia has been swimming competitively for only 15 months.
The Oamaru Swim Club member took up the sport after she kept injuring herself playing other sports and decided to give swimming a go.
Being in the pool was now her self-confessed happy place, and she loved working with coach Narcis Gherca.
“He helps me with my techniques and he helps me believe in myself.”
Gherca said he enjoyed watching the progression of Olivia, and other swimmers, and helping them reach their potential.
“I like seeing them growing and taking a plan for the next step – I enjoy it very much.”
Olivia was the second Oamaru swimmer to break an Otago record recently, after Eric Strachan broke the 10-year-old 100m freestyle record, late last year.
Club president Michelle McLean said she was incredibly proud of the club’s achievements, including the 18 swimmers at the Cromwell meet who cracked personal-bests.
The club had 10 swimmers picked for the Otago regional development squad.
“That’s a huge number of swimmers.”
She was grateful to the Waitaki District Council and the Oamaru Aquatic Centre for supporting the club.
“Having all of their support is great.”
Swimmers would now turn their focus to the Kiwi Challenge in Dunedin at the end of the month.
“There’s a really good team going down.”