Brooke Hanson Targets Olympic Berth

Melbourne-based breaststroker Brooke Hanson has her sights set firmly on an Olympic medal in Athens next year after claiming silver at the 2003 World Swimming Championships in Barcelona this year.

The disappointment of missing the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games selection by a mere 0.1sec and 0.4sec has not deterred Brooke Hanson from achieving the Olympic dream.

At the tender age of 16, Brooke made her international debut as the youngest member of the 1994 Commonwealth Games Australian swim team competing in Victoria, Canada. She finished 4th in the 200m Breaststroke at that meet.

Brooke’s next major selection was on the Australian Swim Team for the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan where she broke the Australian Record in the semi-final of the 50m Breaststroke, breaking the 1998 record held by Samantha Riley.

Her success after such a long time out of the spotlight was an illustration of her dedication and commitment, not just to swimming, but to everything she does.

She returned to become the most successful Australian swimmer at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, winning the 50 and 100m breaststroke in the victorious Australian Women’s Team.

At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Brooke broke through for her first major international medal when she took silver in the 100m breaststroke. She then went on to make the final of both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events at the 2002 Pan Pacs in Yokohama.

Last year Brooke qualified for the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, where she won silver in the 50m breaststroke and finished sixth in the 100m final. It was a breakthrough performance.

The Whitehorse resident established new Australian records for the 50m breaststroke in both the heat and the semi-final in Barcelona before holding off world record holders Zoe Baker (Great Britain) and Leisel Jones (AUS) to win silver.

Brooke has represented Australia 20 times in major international swimming events with her major goals of selection to compete in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games teams.

Nunawading Swimming Club’s General Manager, Gary Barclay said: “Brooke’s ability to divide herself between the rigours of elite sports training and competing, and undertaking a tertiary education course speaks volumes for the character of this young lady”.

“Brooke, who is currently looking to secure a major sponsor, is an ideal role model for all of us and her determination to train hard and do everything right to achieve Olympic success is admired by all who know her,” Barclay added.

Brooke is currently preparing for the 2003 Qantas Skins in Sydney and 2003 World Cup in Melbourne, both to be held in late November.

Gary Barclay

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