Training partners together to the finish
By TANIA PHILLIPS
KINGSCLIFF swimming club's quartet of backstroke champions is proving that swimmers that train together finish together too.
On Saturday night Kingscliff's two top male backstrokers, Ethan Rolff and Hayden Stoeckel, stunned the crowd at the first Grand Prix swim meet of the season in Brisbane with a dead-heat performance.
They both stopped the clock at 26.55 in the 50 metre backstroke. Amazingly it was the second dead-heat in as many races, with the 200m women's backstroke ending in a deadheat minutes later.
And just 18-months earlier Rolff and Stoeckel's female training partners Tay Zimmer and Sophie Edington dead-heated in both the 50 and 200m backstroke events at the Australian Short Course Championships.
The group's coach, Greg Salter was left wondering what was in the water at Kingscliff after the event. He was still shaking his head yesterday as he prepared for a busy week at the Australian National women's event camp on the Gold Coast along with Zimmer and Edington. Rolff and Stoeckel jetted straight from Brisbane to the men's camp in Townsville.
"It is quite uncanny," a bemused Salter said yesterday.
"It is a good result for the club - everyone is a winner."
Salter said watching the race, he knew things were going to be close with all of the swimmers and was glad when the Kingscliff duo touched the wall first.
"I was watching it from the side of the pool ? it looked like it was going to be close," he said. "There was probably only .2 or three between all the swimmers."
The experienced coach said it ws nice to see the boys doing well.
"It is good to see them getting wins under their belts," he said. "The girls have been the ones over the past 12-18 months that have had more success than the boys.
"The boys have been training really hard and hopefully now things will keep happening for them."
Stoeckel is off to the US on June 12 with the Australian youth team, and both will compete in the Pan Pac Pacific Games in Canada in August.