Rio Olympian Chelsea Gubecka and seven-time Pier to Pub victor Sam Sheppard were on hand in Adelaide to host the first Bio Island Australian JX clinic of the year last weekend.
Coinciding with the 2020 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships at Brighton Beach – in which Gubecka competed and Sheppard commentated – more than 25 junior swimmers gained tips from the best in business, before hitting the water for a 2.5km swim.
Not wanting to let the children have all the fun, Gubecka and Sheppard also donned their bathers and jumped in with the junior swimmers to keep a watchful eye over the participants as they braved the choppy waters.
Chatting to Swimming Australia before the clinic, Gubecka – who claimed silver in the Women’s 10km Open race the day before – said she loved handing down advice to young, passionate, open water swimmers.
“I’m really excited to help run the clinic and I’m happy to talk to some of the kids and hopefully give them a tip or two,” Gubecka said.
“I think when it comes to open water swimming it is all about skills, not necessarily speed, however there is an element of that too, so it’s just about reiterating to the kids to have fun and not worry too much about their time, it’s more about executing skills and doing really well out there.
“More specifically, being relaxed is probably the key. I think a lot of people start to panic especially when they’re really young and haven’t done a lot of ocean swimming. Not seeing a buoy is really hard, so to just trust your instincts and make sure you’re thinking and knowing where you’re going and who’s around, following a pack – all those skills help out in the end.
“It’s a bit choppy today so I’m going to have a little swim with the kids and ‘Shep’ too, it’s been a while since we’ve been on a team together.”
Having represented Australia at an Olympic Games, two World Championships and the Pan Pacs all before the age of 20, not to mention being awarded Swimming Australia’s ‘Open Water Swimmer of the Year’ for three consecutive years (2015-2017), Gubecka is definitely a role model for the next wave of swimmers rising through the ranks.
“I think it’s pretty unbelievable. When I was that age I was looking up to Melissa Gorman and Ky Hurst, as well the ones that made the Olympic team back in ’08 and ’12, so it’s really awesome to think that I can be a role model for those kids.”
For more information on the Bio Island Australian JX program, click here.