Melbourne swimmer Jemma Schlicht has moved to the Sunshine Coast.
Melbourne swimmer Jemma Schlicht has moved to the Sunshine Coast. Warren Lynam

Coast swimmer ready to take on the world

SWIMMING: It's not medals or fame new USC Spartans recruit Jemma Schlicht is chasing at her first World Short Course titles in Canada.

She only wants to swim faster than she ever has before.

The 'starstruck' 18-year-old quickly announced herself as one of Australia's up-and-coming stars when she qualified for the 200m freestyle event, less than four months after she joined renowned coach Chris Mooney and his Olympian-stacked squad at Sippy Downs.

She set a new 200m personal best (1min 57sec) at the Australian titles to scrape into the 20-swimmer team.

She now joins the likes of Olympic medallists Emily Seebohm and Sunshine Coaster Brittany Elmslie at the five-day event at Windsor.

"It's pretty unreal, I'm a bit starstruck almost,” she said.

"I never thought I would ever be on a team with swimmers like those, (with) girls that have the experience they have.

"I just hope to learn off them, see how they handle the pressure.”

Schlicht credits her move from Melbourne to the Coast as the catalyst to overcoming some horrific back and knee injuries.

With the help of Mooney and the club's medical staff, she has gone from prodigious Victorian school-age talent, to a serious contender for the Commonwealth Games (2018) and Tokyo 2020.

"Obviously you have to have goals but I like to set more time-based goals (rather )than selection,” she said.

"At the end of the day you'll go to trials and you can't control how everyone else swims. So I just think that the first step is getting back to my old (personal bests) and then getting faster from there.

"Hopefully by the Comm(onwealth) games and by (Tokyo) 2020 I'm swimming really fast and that my times will get me on. "It's definitely a goal but I don't like to put unnecessary pressure of positions first.”

Schlicht will contest the heats shortly after 12.30am (Wednesday) and is determined to give it her all.

"Obviously I would like to break the 1min 57sec mark,” she said.

"Anything faster than (what I swam at) trials will be a step forward and that's all I can really ask for.”

The finals will be held at approximately 9.30am (AEST) tomorrow.


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