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13 May 2020
Warracknabeal swimmer Lily Eldridge is continuing to train hard to pursue her dreams despite the devastation of not being able to compete at national level.
Lily’s mother, Kelly Ough, said her daughter had completed eight months of intense swimming and dry-land training to compete at the Australian Age Swimming Championships, due to be contested in Perth in April, 2020.
“When we received notification three weeks beforehand that this meet had been cancelled because of the coronavirus, we were pondering, ‘how do we tell Lily?’” she said.
“Lily had spent eight months dedicating her life to this one meet and she had set herself a goal of making the top 10 in Australia in her age group.
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“As you can imagine, Lily took this news extremely hard. She was in a daze and kept saying, ‘Surely you are wrong and it hasn’t been cancelled – maybe they have just decided to postpone it?’.
“Unfortunately, it hadn’t been postponed, it was cancelled altogether.”
Ms Ough said it took Lily 24 hours to ‘kind of come to terms’ with the news.
“She had spent six days a week training for this and now, what was she to do?” she said.
“Why bother train when there is nothing to train for?”
Ms Ough said the coronavirus pandemic had an extra impact on her family, with two members of the household classed in the ‘high risk’ category.
The family went into self-isolation, which Ms Ough said caused further difficulties for Lily because she was unable to attend school or see her friends.
She said Lily had already separated from close team-mates after deciding to change swimming clubs ahead of the Australian championships.
“This choice was difficult as she had a special bond with her coach Chris from Bendigo East, but he wasn’t able to continue his coaching role due to family issues, which is the main reason Lily chose to move on,” Ms Ough said.
Lily is now a member of Melbourne Vicentre Swim Club, based at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre at Albert Park.
“Lily is fortunate as they were very accepting of her still remaining to live in Warracknabeal, which means she will still be doing all her training on her own,” Ms Ough said.
She said Lily was also disappointed by the cancellation of the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships in Queensland, planned for early August.
“Lily had also set this as one of her goals to be selected again for the School Sport Victoria team,” she said.
Ms Ough said despite the setbacks, Lily continued to focus on her sporting endeavours.
She keeps in regular contact with mentor Steve Moneghetti via phone and video calls.
“He has been a fantastic support for Lily,” Ms Ough said.
“Between the two of them, they set Lily some new goals for her to focus on during isolation.
“Lily has really shown us her true dedication to her love of swimming and we honestly couldn’t be prouder.”
Lily trains six days a week, combining running, riding, yoga, workouts and Finis dry-land swim trainer sessions.
“Lily has also been taking her younger brother, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, along with her to help burn some of his energy,” Ms Ough said.
“We have no idea when Lily will be able to get back in a pool to train properly, but until this day comes Lily has vowed to stay as determined as ever.
“She has had several challenges in the past eight weeks and she could’ve let this affect her mental health.
“However, Lily chose to use this time positively, re-evaluating her training regime and reflecting on her long-term goals.”
The entire May 13, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!