Teen sets sights on 2020 Olympics

Busselton Freight ServiceBusselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton swimmer Jaz Hopkins is the Busselton Freight Service Rising Sport Star for April.
Camera IconBusselton swimmer Jaz Hopkins is the Busselton Freight Service Rising Sport Star for April. Credit: Chloe Fraser

Inspired by Olympian Tamsin Cook, Busselton swimmer Jaz Hopkins is hoping to achieve big things in the swimming world — setting her sights on the 2020 Olympic Games.

Hopkins’ list of accolades and her hard work and dedication in representing herself and her club has landed the Year 12 student the Rising Sports Star award for April.

Whether it was sitting poolside watching her younger brother train with the Busselton Swimming Club or swimming laps with her mum, Jaz has been around water since a young age.

“I joined swim club at eight but I didn’t take it seriously, it was more for fitness and fun really — and the social aspect,” she said.

“At 11 I competed in my first junior States — that was when I realised I really enjoyed competing and wanted to do more.”

The Georgiana Molloy Anglican school student reminisced on her proudest swimming achievements so far, some of which included winning her first gold aged 13 in 100m and 200m backstroke, and making her first national qualifying time in November 2014.

“I competed in my first Nationals in April the next year, but I took it as a learning experience and didn’t have any expectations going in,” she said.

Competing in Adelaide last year, Hopkins qualified for five events, making the final before taking out seventh overall.

“Making the final made me want to work even harder,” she said.

After a 10-week block of training leading into this year’s Nationals, Hopkins was hoping for a medal finish, but placed fourth in the 100m backstroke by a 0.13sec. margin.

“Knowing it (100m backstroke) was the main event stressed me out a little,” she said.

But Hopkins’ campaign was far from over. The 17-year-old was awarded bronze in the 200m backstroke, making the FINA Junior World Australian team.

Hopkins said she was looking forward to travelling to America to train and compete with the junior world team, but had a multitude of goals to reach in her three-year journey to reach the Olympic Games.

“My short-term goal is to make the A final — so to place in the top eight in Australia for all ages and also to captain for the WA State team in September,” she said.

Hopkins thanked her coach Brooke Kemp, who she said had been beside the teenager’s side through every step of her swimming journey.

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