Published on 08 October 2021
After winning medals at national swimming championships, local teen Molly Walker has her sights set on representing Australia and claiming international victory.
Competitively swimming since she was six years old, Molly, now 16, is committed to balancing her studies at Tatachilla College with her demanding training schedule. Each week, Molly completes seven swimming sessions and two or three gym sessions at Noarlunga Aquatic and Recreation Centre under the supervision of Southern Performance Swimming Club coach Scott Beringen.
“I’ve always loved being part of the swimming community. I love the relationship I have with Scott and the other swimmers. We get along well, and Scott knows exactly what to say to motivate me,” Molly says.
It has been a big year for Molly, following her bronze medal swim in the 400-metre freestyle event at the 2019 Australian Age Swimming Championships with a silver medal in this year’s 800-metre freestyle, and competing at Olympic qualifying event, the Australian Swimming Trials.
Molly’s success at the national Age Championships earned her a position in the South Australian Sports Institute youth swimming development squad, which provides her with opportunities to train with other athletes and receive guidance from a team of coaches.
“Swimming at the Olympics has always been my dream. I realise it could be in reach after going to the Olympic trials. It was an amazing experience. To be surrounded by high-end athletes was such an incredible atmosphere to be part of. Competing against my idols was both a privilege and a highly motivating factor in wanting to achieve my dreams,” Molly says.
The biggest teaching Molly took away from the Olympic trials was to focus on improving her mental preparation to race.
“I saw how well the athletes compete under pressure, executing their race plan perfectly. That’s something I aspire to. Improving my mental preparation is something I have to be responsible for, to better understand my own mind and be able to get myself back in the zone,” Molly says.
Molly’s next major goal is to register a qualifying time for the Australian Junior team.
“In the meantime, I hope to continue to medal at the national Age Championships. I’ll also be looking for opportunities to experience open-age championships and improve at that level of competition,” Molly says.
Molly is excited about the upgrades under way at the Noarlunga pool since council took over the management of the centre in December 2020.
“The gym has had a completely new fit out with new equipment, which is fantastic. There are new lane ropes, and the old removable starting blocks have been replaced with permanent blocks, giving our squad a similar experience to what we have at other pools,” Molly says.
New membership packages are on offer at the centre, as well as new Learn to Swim and school holiday programs. Younger swimmers will enjoy the inflatable fun run that will be installed soon. Outside of the pool, plans are being put in place to refurbish the changerooms including a new disability and family change area.
Noarlunga Aquatic Centre