By Sam Watson
LAST month, Olivia Holmes and Zac Sherar were selected for the Team Vic 10-19 years Swimming State Team.
Holmes, 11, and Sherar, 12, both swim for South Gippsland Bass Swimming Club and have been dominating the pool over the last couple of years.
Holmes trains at the Bass Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Wonthaggi and Sherar spends most of his time at South Gippsland Splash in Leongatha.
Holmes, who lives in San Remo with dad Damien, mum Hayley and younger brother Xavier, has four two-hour training sessions a week, with three in the morning and one after school.
She attends Newhaven College, so she travels to Wonthaggi from San Remo in the morning then back across the bridge for school.
Luckily for Damien and Hayley there are some other San Remo kids at the club, so they can share the driving load with other parents.
Sherar lives in Loch with his dad Paul, mum Louise, older brother Thomas and younger brother Blake, and he attends Loch Primary school, so there’s also a bit of driving involved to get to Leongatha and back.
Before the Team Vic selection, he was training four times a week but now he’s gone up to five sessions per week.
At those sessions he’s predominantly coached by Dylan Muir, Sarah Harris and Lorri McKenzie.
And at Wonthaggi, Muir and Brett Kerr coach Holmes and many others.
Hayley Holmes said without the coaches, Olivia would’ve been nowhere near where she is today.
“These achievements are just as much a credit to them,” Holmes said.
“We don’t have the best facilities, but we do have the best coaches.”
Hayley and her family are very proud of the way her daughter has progressed in the pool.
“It’s something that she really gets excited about, so we’re really happy to see her reaching her goals,” Hayley said.
“She’s very motivated, to the point where she’s the one waking us up to take her to training, she’s always up and ready to go.”
And Louise shared a very similar sentiment about Zac.
“He’s always been determined with his goals and puts in the hard work for himself,” Louise said.
“So, we’re pretty proud that he’s made this achievement that he really wanted to make.”
Holmes is a netball superstar for Phillip Island, but Hayley said her primary focus is currently in the pool.
“It’s her favourite sport at the moment, she actually started swimming because she wanted to improve her running, but swimming’s taken over,” Hayley said.
And despite being just 11 years old, her sights are firmly set on the biggest stage.
“She’s been watching the Olympic trials recently, so she’s been pretty inspired by that and has been saying that’s what she wants to do,” Hayley said.
Zac, who plays football for the Poowong-Loch Bulls Junior Football Club, also wants to compete on the world’s biggest stage.
“Swimming’s definitely his priority, he’s got goals to go to the Olympics,” Louise said.
In Zac’s swimming journey so far, Louise said the coaches at SGBSC have been fantastic, and the support he’s received from his school mates has been amazing.
“The school’s been really supportive, they’ve followed him when he’s been to big meets, not just school ones, they’ve all been there cheering him on,” Louise said.
“It’s been really good to have that extra support from his peers.”
And Hayley said the performance of the kids at the South Gippsland Bass Swimming Club shows that the proposed pool upgrades at Wonthaggi are warranted.
“It would be good to have a competitive pool with timing or blocks because our kids are competing against others who have those resources,” Hayley said.
Holmes and Sherar earned their spot on the team after winning all the way through districts, regionals, and state championships.
They’re supposed to fly to Brisbane in August for the national championships, but unfortunately, it looks like it won’t be going ahead.
Both Holmes and Sherar thrive in freestyle and butterfly, and it may not be too long until they’re taking on the world’s best, on the world’s biggest stage.