Shakira aims for national success
JUNIOR swimming prodigy Shakira Matheson may only be 12 years old but she has already started her intense training for next year, four days after Christmas.
Shakira was given only nine days of holidays over the festive period before getting back into her regime of training in the early of hours of dawn and in the afternoon.
Well used to waking up at 4am, Shakira looked tired as she lounged in the pool, but the competitive spark was still in her eye.
"I let it (her intense training regime) go over Christmas," Shakira said.
But next year will see her compete in the nationals in Sydney, her highest level of competition yet.
"(It's my) first nationals, it's pretty exciting," she said.
While she is yet to reach her teen years, Shakira exhibits a high level of professionalism with a burning sporting attitude honed during the last year.
"I have a goal and try and complete that, no matter what people say about it," she said.
"Never back down; never let your fears get the better of you. Don't let people psych you out."
With a wall fully decorated with medals, Shakira struggled to find a place for the four medals she won at the Queensland State Championships at Chandler last week.
The medal haul included gold in the individual medley, silver in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and a bronze in the freestyle relay.
Coach Brian Shorter said she was only one stroke from taking gold in the 200m breaststroke.
"In the 200m breast she lost by 0.5 of a second; the girl that beat her was the Australian champion," Shorter said.
"(Shakira) led all the way, apart from the last half metre.
"She will be the second- fastest in Queensland."
Shorter said Shakira performed well above what was expected of her, but he had always set her high targets to get the best of her, preparing her for the nationals.
"We hope to make the finals in the nationals in Sydney, (but) my personal goal is to medal at the nationals," Shorter said.