Cook leads resurgence of WA swimming

Bridget Lacy
Cook leads resurgence of WA swimming

Perth teenager Tamsin Cook knows WA isn't considered a force in the swimming world at the moment.

But she reckons that's all about to change and she can be part of the resurgence.

Cook burst on to the scene when she came within a fingernail of breaking Hayley Lewis' 24-year-old Australian Age record in Sydney in April.

In taking the 400m freestyle at the Australian Age Championships she achieved the best time by a 15-year-old on home soil and threatened to steal the record set by Lewis at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

"I didn't know exactly what the record was and I was really amazed to get so close," she said.

Cook will be one of five West Australians in Hawaii this month for the Junior Pan Pacs and she hopes to better her April time and make the final in her pet event.

She is also likely to compete in the 100m and 200m freestyle as well as the 200m butterfly in the biggest competition of her life.

"It's my first junior Australian team so I'm really excited and really honoured to be a part of it," Cook said. "My goal would probably just be to contribute to the team effort."

A Year 10 student at St Mark's in Hillarys, Cook is juggling her school commitments with more than 20 hours of training a week.

Cook credited WAIS high performance coach Michael Palfrey with helping accelerate her improvement over the past 12 months.

"I think it's just been a bit of a journey but I've really enjoyed working with Mick since October and I think he has really helped me progress as much as I have," she said.

And after moving to Australia from South Africa when she was an eight-year-old, Cook is keen to represent her adopted country at the highest possible level.

"My ultimate goal is to make a senior Australian team," Cook said. "That's probably the benchmark I would really love to hit.

"I have so much regard for the Australian swim team and I think it would be an amazing thing to be a part of."

Cook also believes remaining in WA will not prevent her from making it at the top level.

"WA hasn't been regarded as a force in the swimming community but I think that's definitely going to change," she said.

"There's so much potential in WA.

"There are a couple of athletes, such as myself and a few others, who are really going to raise the bar in WA.

"There is a lot more to come and I think we are going to see a much bigger contribution from WA."