Rylee makes podium on national titles debut

Published 3:00pm 27 April 2022

Rylee makes podium on national titles debut
Words by Nick Crockford

Rylee Smith had a medal-winning debut at the Australian Age National Championships (April 11-18) striking bronze and recording three personal best (pb) times.

The Redcliffe Leagues Swimming Club (RLSC) star, who qualified last year but was too young to compete, started in Adelaide with third in the Girls’ 13 Years 1500m freestyle.

After 30 gruelling laps she stopped the clock at 18 minutes 20.01 seconds – 19.16 seconds inside her personal best and less than three seconds off second place.

The North Lakes resident was also ninth in the 400m freestyle in a pb of 4 minutes 40.63 seconds, 18th in the 200m backstroke, 24th in the 200m freestyle in a pb and 33rd in the 200m individual medley (IM).

Rylee makes podium on national titles debut
Rylee Smith on the starting blocks in Adelaide.

This followed a disrupted preparation to the national titles with shoulder issues forcing Smith to withdraw from the 100m and 800m freestyle and 400m IM races.

The 13-year-old has been swimming at Redcliffe War Memorial Pool since she was three months old, with her father recalling “she screamed during every class for the first month”.

However, by the age of five Smith had set her sights on joining Redcliffe War Memorial Pool’s honour board for national and international swimmers.

Rylee makes podium on national titles debut
Rylee Smith training at Redcliffe War Memorial Pool ahead of her national titles debut.

She is now under the direction of head coach Wanda Drew, who worked with RLSC's Olympic legends Leisel Jones, Geoff Huegill, Tarnee White and four-time Paralympic world record holder Alistair Smales.

Coach Drew said Smith “has the determination and dedication to go a long way in the sport”.

Redcliffe War Memorial Pool, which has been extensively renovated in the last two years, runs learn-to-swim classes for babies right through to national squads.

Anyone wishing to train at the Sydney St pool is offered a free week’s trial.

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