Swimming: Tessa Bradley's in a league of her own

By Peter White

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Tessa Bradley loves training as much as competing  - so much so she shaved 11 seconds off her personal best at the national champs in Hamilton. Photo/John Borren
Tessa Bradley loves training as much as competing - so much so she shaved 11 seconds off her personal best at the national champs in Hamilton. Photo/John Borren

The performances of so many Tauranga swimmers at regional and national events continue to highlight the programmes run by the Greerton and Otumoetai swim clubs.

The NZ Division 2 Swimming Championships held in Hamilton last weekend confirmed this with both clubs well represented on the medal table.

But one swimmer made the national selectors and swimming authorities stand up and take notice after a remarkable win in the girls 13 years 200m freestyle final.

Greerton swimmer Tessa Bradley, 13, had set personal bests at training leading up to the event but her time of 2:18:25 was a staggering 11 seconds quicker than her previous best.

It was not just a record in her age group but proved to be the fastest 200m freestyle of the evening, including all girls up to the age of 18. The time was well under the standard for the upcoming NZ Age Group champs.

The Year 9 Katikati College student says her rapid improvement comes down to working harder and lifting her pre-school training to five times a week.

"I was hoping to go under 2:20 but was not sure if I would make it," Tessa said. "Training had gone really well and I love working hard. It makes it more interesting thinking about technique and how fast you are going."

Tessa is also a noted surf lifesaver, winning gold in the Tube Rescue event at the recent Oceans 14 nationals at Mount Maunganui, and she set a school record this month in winning the junior girls 1500m at the Katikati College athletics sports.

Tai Daniels has coached her at Greerton for more than three years.

"She has a really nice flow and a really good feel for the water," he said.

"She doesn't power her way through the water but gets the most out of each stroke she can.

"That makes her more efficient, which in the long run will make her even better, as she grows and gets bigger she will be on a much more competitive footing with kids who are older and stronger."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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