Friends ready to take on the best in the state

Phoebe Lechner, Jessica Hogg and Isabella Livermore (L-R) and classmate Cassidy Thompson have reached the statewide PSSA competition for the 200m freestyle relay

Four friends from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Mosman are getting ready to compete against swimmers from across the state as part of a school-first freestyle relay team.

Jessica Hogg, Phoebe Lechner, Isabella Livermore and Cassidy Thomson, all Year 6, are the first students from their school to ever advance as far as the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association (PSSA) competition, which will be held at Sydney Olympic Park on Friday 12 April and draw competitors from across the state.

The girls swim the 200m freestyle relay, each taking one 50m lap of the pool. They’ve only started swimming together this year, but have already achieved considerable success and now prefer competing as a team.

“You’re not as nervous, because you know you’ve got your friends there to support you,” said Jessica.

“You try a bit harder, because you know your teammates are depending on you,” added Phoebe.

The girls were already friends before recording the four fastest times at this year’s school swimming carnival, when they were put in a team for the zone competition. Since then they’ve trained both separately and together to improve their speed and their changeovers – essential for ensuring the quickest possible time in a relay event.

The girls each train up to seven hours a week, as well as doing sessions together. They’re hoping that PSSA will see them outpace tough competition, as they did at their most recent event when they won gold in a tight race.

“At the end it was me and the girl who won the 50m freestyle neck and neck, I pulled ahead by two milliseconds,” said Phoebe.

“At the end, everybody fell silent, the whole stadium waiting for the result and then I saw that we came first,” said Isabella. “Our parents were crying they were so happy– they’ve been through the journey with us.”

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