MEKAYLA Everingham admits the move from Port Macquarie to Sydney two years ago was one she had to make.
As she approaches the halfway mark of a four-year university degree, the Hastings swimmer indicated she was on her way back in the pool.
While the 20-year-old was happy with her performance at last weekend’s Country Regional championships, she knows she can do better.
“I was happy with how I raced at the weekend considering I raced the weekend before,” she said.
“Last weekend was the first weekend I’ve raced outdoors since I’ve moved, which isn’t an excuse, but I did some alright times and I’m slowly getting back to where I was so I can’t complain.”
An indication of the improvement she has made over the last 12 months came in the 50-metre breaststroke in her home surrounds.
She finished eighth in the national finals in Brisbane last year, but the time in Port Macquarie was quicker than that.
“That was a challenging experience (in Brisbane) because I remember it was really late at night and it was my first national final,” she said.
I needed to do it; I needed to grow up and learn to do things on my own and work out who I was as a person.Mekayla Everingham
After first making the move to Sydney for university at the beginning of 2016, swimming became the furthest thing from her mind.
But upon reflection, Everingham conceded it was the move she needed to make.
“I needed to do it; I needed to grow up and learn to do things on my own and work out who I was as a person,” she said.
When asked if the change in scenery from the laid back lifestyle in Port Macquarie to the hustle and bustle of the city had become too much, Everingham said she had to stick with it.
“I never thought about not completing the uni degree because I knew I needed to be in Sydney when I made the commitment,” she said.
“I’m not someone who is going to pick up something if they’re not going to finish it.
“I’ve learnt a lot about who I am in swimming and how resilient I am. It’s a sport that as much as you love it, it can tear you down and I’ve come to learn that in the last few years.”
I’ve learnt a lot about who I am in swimming and how resilient I am.Mekayla Everingham
Everingham has her eyes set on the Commonwealth Games trials on the Gold Coast – but is realistic when asked about her chances of making the final squad.
“I don’t think I’m a chance, I’m just going for the experience mainly,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Port Macquarie club scooped the pool at the Country Regional titles – finishing at the top of the standings.
The hosts claimed an impressive 20 gold, 26 silver and 22 bronze medals for a total of 68 throughout the weekend.
Tamworth City (39) was the next closest.