FOURTEEN-year-old Stefanie McCarthy, of Tranmere, has made history by becoming the first Tasmanian swimmer to win a gold medal at the Pacific School Games (PSG).
Held in Adelaide in December, PSG is an international school sport championship event that provides an opportunity for more than 4000 school-aged students to participate in 11 different sports at the highest level.
Australian students qualify for the games through their state and territory sport unit pathways.
Stefanie, who swims competitively at the Hobart Aquatic Centre, took out the gold medal in the 50-metre freestyle, setting a new Tasmanian record for 14-year-old girls.
The young swimmer also won silver in the 100-metre and bronze in the 400-metre freestyle events.
This saw her break Ariarne Titmus’ record for 14-year-old girls in the 100-metre freestyle event.
Stefanie said she had been excited to represent Tasmania and compete against swimmers from other states, territories and pacific regions.
She said PSG was a “great experience” as it got her out of her comfort zone of competing in Hobart.
“I still can’t believe I won a gold medal – it was so exciting and still makes me smile when I think about it,” she said.
“It was a really good feeling to know that all of my hard work leading up to the event and my coaches advice had paid off.
“It was also good to show other states that Tasmanians can do well at a national level.”
In the week following the PSG, Stefanie competed at the Victorian Age Championships where she won three gold medals in the 50-metres, 100-metres and 200-metres freestyle, as well as silver in the 400-metres freestyle.
Stefanie said this recent success showed her that she could do well against the best swimmers on the mainland.
“My goal now is to make a junior national team and these results showed me that I am on the right track in terms of my training and racing plans,” she said.
“For the next couple of months in the lead up to the National Ages Championships, I need to put my head down and train harder than ever before.”
Stefanie will be competing in the Commonwealth Games swimming trials on the Gold Coast in February.
“I’m very excited as I will have the opportunity to compete against the best in Australia, like Cate and Bronte Campbell,” she said.
“Just to be in the same marshalling room as people like that will be exciting and I can’t wait.”
Stefanie thanked the Clarence City Council for providing her with a ‘Quick Response’ grant, which went towards her attendance at the Pacific School Games.
Stefanie currently holds 15 Tasmanian records and is also part of three Tasmanian relay records.
Caption: Stefanie McCarthy, of Tranmere, has struck gold at the recent Pacific School Games.