Pair shine at awards
Busselton swimmer Jaz Hopkins and coach Brooke Kemp rubbed shoulders with some of the State’s top swimmers when they attended the Westpac Swimmer of the Year awards in Perth last month.
Kemp took out the Development Coach of the Year award, which was presented to a coach who showed commitment to developing a program that produced outstanding results at a club, State and national level, beating a host of well-known Perth coaches to claim the prize.
“Being in a room filled with past and present Olympians, being in that company was pretty elite,” she said.
“It felt pretty special for a country club to be rubbing shoulders with those types of people.”
Hopkins also attended the awards, having been nominated for Age Group Swimmer of the Year.
The teenager was up against her swimming idol — Rio Olympian Tamsin Cook — who took out the award.
But missing out on the accolade has not crushed her drive.
After competing at the Australian Age Swimming Championships in Brisbane last month, Hopkins was awarded bronze in 200m backstroke and has been selected to represent Australia at the 2017 FINA Junior World Swimming Championships.
The 16-year-old will travel to America with the Australian team and WA Institute of Sport coach Mick Palfery on August 23.
Hopkins will travel with the team to Ohio for a five-day staging camp, before competing at the World Championships in Indianapolis.
She said her goal at the nationals was to medal, but she was excited to have met the qualifying time for the junior Australian team.
“It was a bit of a whirlwind,” she said.
“We left the pool excited with the medal, and then I got the call back for worlds.”
Kemp said Hopkins hit her targets consistently and achieved what she had trained for.
“From a coach’s point of view it just looked effortless in warm-up so I knew it was going to be a good swim,” she said. “But it definitely exceeded my expectations.”
Hopkins was among 1800 competitors at the nationals and was one of three WA swimmers to make the junior world team.
Adding to her list of accolades, the Year 12 student was also recently awarded the Busselton Freight Service Rising Sports Star Award for April.
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