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20 April, 2021

Mareeba swimmers learn Olympic standard

MAREEBA swimmers got the chance of a lifetime after Olympic gold medalist and record breaker Jessicah Schipper OAM paid the Mareeba Wildcats a visit on Saturday.

By Rhys Thomas

Mareeba Wildcats swimmer Zeske Elize Wilson with Olympic gold medalist Jessicah Schipper at the clinic that was held at the Mareeba Pool

MAREEBA swimmers got the chance of a lifetime after Olympic gold medalist and record breaker Jessicah Schipper OAM paid the Mareeba Wildcats a visit on Saturday. 

Mrs Schipper participated in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics securing several gold medals and breaking records for the 200m butterfly on several occasions. 

She also competed in two Commonwealth games and five world championships over the course of her career before retiring in 2012.

Mrs Schipper was not sure what direction to take after retiring but was glad to be able to stay in the sport she loves, now helping teach and grow the new generation of potential gold medalists. 

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do post-swimming but I knew I wanted to stay involved in the sport, so I got very lucky in securing a job at Swimming Queensland,” she said. 

“This is like a dream job for me being able to go all around Queensland and deliver these clinics.”

Being born in the southeast corner of Queensland, Mrs Schipper is glad to bring these clinics to regional and rural Australia where swimmers may not get the chance to learn from the best regularly. 

“Growing up in Brisbane everything is pretty much centralised there and you have access to this stuff nearly all the time,” she said. 

“The appreciation for these clinics is greater in regional areas, you get a lot more participation and find the kids enjoy it more.” 

These comments were echoed by Mareeba Wildcats coach June Cotter, stating that high profile swimmers such as Mrs Schipper were a common sight in the south-east corner. 

“It’s really beneficial to the young ones because they don’t get these sorts of high profile swimmers, down in Brisbane see them every week,” she said. 

“Even if our swimmers can take at least one thing away from this clinic, it’s something they will never forget. 

“To have an Olympian come all the way up here it’s great for us.” 

The visit was secured by young Mareeba Wildcats swimmer, Zeske Elize Wilson after she entered a competition whilst in Brisbane. 

“I was surprised that out of all the people that had entered I was one of the winners, I was shocked,” she said.

“I feel proud that our club was chosen but more excited that everyone gets to experience an Olympian come in. 

“I hope to evaluate everything that she says and bring it back to our swimming, seeing what little things we can change to make us faster or more efficient in the pool.”   


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