PORT Macquarie swimming duo Phoebe Bentley and Mathilda King are ones to watch in the pool.
Their results last Saturday in Port Macquarie were poles apart, but they shouldn’t be concerned as it was the first competitive event of the season.
King achieved several personal best times, while Bentley was a little rusty as she returned to the pool after a month off.
Coach Michael Mullens believes the pair will battle against each other in coming years as the new batch of Port Macquarie swimmers continue through the ranks.
Mullens said Bentley is an all-rounder – someone who is “very strong” in the pool.
“She’s a very focused girl and good at all her strokes which is very rare in this day and age,” he said.
“The world is her oyster at the moment.
“She’s thin, she’s lean, she won’t fill out for a while yet but it’s just like climbing a ladder.
“We’ll go one step at a time and we’ve got another 12 rungs to go – that’s the way I see it.
“If we go a rung or two each year I think in about four or five years time she’s going to be something special.”
The Wauchope teenager thrives on most challenges Mullens throws her way.
“I like training her, she’s not afraid to have a crack at everything and I know some of the sets I give her she’s absolutely shattered by it, but she seems to bounce back,” he said.
“Typically you’ve got to do that if you want to be a world class swimmer.
“You’ll be hearing more of her in years to come; I don’t want winners now, I want winners by the time they’re 16, 17 and 18 because that’s when it all happens.”
Mullens was excited by the promising up-and-comers that include King, Nathan Smith and Bill Crowley alongside Bentley.
“We’ve got a new batch of kids coming through and there’s at least three or four I think will go on to big things,” he said.
King raced in 10 events across two days last weekend and achieved an impressive seven personal best times.
One of those was in the 200-metre individual medley where she wiped 13 seconds off her previous time.
“I just went out hard and came back hard,” King said.
She has set her sights on making finals at national level in the next 12 months.
“You have to put the effort in at training and it can be hard, but we’re all here for a reason.”
The mental battle was one the youngster had to overcome.
“Normally (Michael) says we’re doing 3k time trials and sometimes we ask why we’re doing it because it’s 60 laps,” she said.
But last weekend was a good “starting point” for the season ahead.
“I was a bit disappointed with all three of my breaststrokes but I shouldn’t have expected anything big being the first carnival,” King said.
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