Kingscliff duo on world stage
KINGSCLIFF duo Sophie Edington and Tayliah Zimmer will travel to the other side of the world as they prepare to write the next chapter of their intense sporting rivalry.
Two of Australia's most promising backstroke talents, Edington and Zimmer etched their names in the history books when they dead-heated in the finals of the 50m and 100m backstroke events at last year's Australian Short Course Championships in Brisbane.
That remarkable feat elevated the duo to the top of Australia's backstroke ranks and they have since been included in the national team that will compete at the upcoming world swimming championships in Montreal.
And while the world's best swimmers will be there, Edington and Zimmer will need look no further than each other to find the drive to excel when they face off in the 50m and 100m backstroke events.
Australian teammate and Olympic medallist Brooke Hanson said their good-natured rivalry could help to produce something spectacular.
"I think it is really exciting," she said. "Because all the Aussies girls are pushing each other to succeed and you are not just getting there and racing the rest of the world, but you are racing your own teammates as well.
"We are pushing each other, each step of the way."
Zimmer's program will also include the 200m backstroke while Edington will be part of the 4x100m freestyle relay.
The 20-year-old is also expected to push for a place on the 4x100m medley relay team with the Aussie girls among the gold medal favourites after their stunning prerformance at last year's world short course championships catapulted the women's team to the No.1 spot in the world.
Edington and Zimmer jetted off for Florida yesterday for a 10-day intensive training camp in the lead-up to the world championships starting July 24.
"We are coming into our taper period now, we have two weeks before we compete so we are just getting prepared to race," Edington said yesterday.
"We'll be settling down and freshening up to get prepared. Hopefully we'll be swimming at our fastest by the time we hit Montreal," Zimmer said.
Meanwhile, Gold Coaster Grant Hackett revealed yesterday he is contemplating shooting for an historic fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games.
No Australian athlete has ever won four gold medals in the same event at four successive Olympics and Hackett will be gunning for a hat-trick in the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing games.
"I'll certainly go a couple of years past that, but whether I'll go all the way to 2012 I'll have to wait and see."