Yamba's Jill-of-all-trades excels in the pool
YAMBA triathlete Alexa Leary has some hard sporting decisions to make after winning four gold medals at the Australian Christian Schools Swimming titles on the Gold Coast.
A relative dilettante in the competitive swimming world until Yamba swimming coach Richard Beresford spotted the 13-year-old's talents in the pool earlier this year, she now has to decide if competitive swimming is her thing.
But it's something her coach does not want to push.
"If anything I think Alexa wants to stay with triathlon," he said. "She's a bit of an all rounder, a bit of a jack-of-all-trades.
"But if she chose to take up swimming I would be delighted if she did. She could go who knows how far."
Beresford said the times Alexa swam at the Christian Schools titles were up there with the times in the national titles.
"She went to the CIS State titles and did well," he said. "She beat those times by about two seconds in the 50m and 100m freestyle after only eight weeks of training."
Alexa's four medals came in the 50m and 100m freestyle events as well as the 4x50m freestyle relay and the 4x50m medley relay.
She swam 28.3 seconds in the 50m freestyle and 1.02min in the 100m.
Beresford said Alexa had two great qualities: natural talent as a swimmer and determination to match her abilities.
"She's a very determined young lady who just tries her best all the time.
"You set her a program and she does it as well as she can."
Alexa's father, Russell Leary, said she upped her swimming training to four days a week prior to the national titles.
"I've been dropping her off in the dark in the mornings with the temperature around 9ºC and she's straight in there," he said.
Russell said his daughter was also a keen dancer and loved playing basketball.
"She's going to have to decide which sport she wants to focus on pretty soon," he said.
He said Alexa has enjoyed a lot of success in triathlons, including a recent success in her age group at the South West Rocks Triathlon.
"She could continue to go for triathlons," he said. "One thing's for sure her times in the swim leg have improved."