Kingscliff swimmers chase share of $100,000


WORLD champion relay swimmer Sophie Edington will spearhead a four-pronged Kingscliff Swimming Club attack at the $100,000 Skins meet in Sydney tonight.

The 21-year-old backstroker and clubmate Tayliah Zimmer will head to Sydney today determined to get the better of Olympic backstroke champions Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry and American Natalie Coughlin in tonight's meet.

Kingscliff duo Hayden Stoeckel and Ethan Rolffe are already in Sydney after attending a Swimming Australia camp. The camp culminates in the Skins and this weekend's Telstra Fina World Cup.

With their eyes firmly on next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March and the Games trial on January 30, the group have not tapered for tonight's event.

"We are not breaking training although we have dropped the intensity a bit this week," said coach Greg Salter who will fly with Edington and Zimmer to Sydney today.

"But we are keeping the miles up.

"We've got a big year (2006). The Games trial is on January 30 and then hopefully the Games in March. Then three of them are straight off to the World Short Course titles in Shanghai at the end of the Games.

"We have been back in training a couple of months. We have had one competition in Brisbane. Ethan swam well - he did his best time ever in the 200 backstroke and the girls swam well coming first and second in their respective events.

"They are ready to go and looking pretty good."

Zimmer won at the corresponding event last year but Salter is expecting a tougher competition tonight with the two Olympic medalists in the women's field.

However, Salter believes the tough competition can only benefit his swimmers.

"I'm pleased they (Coventry and Coughlin) are here," he said.

"It is easy to be big fish in a little pool I don't want that I want them (the Kingscliff swimmers) to be big fish in the ocean."

He said the next two events would allow the Kingscliff swimmers to gauge how they are going, possibly pick up some money and maybe cause an upset or two.

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