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Swim star laps up a fresh start
Olympic swimmer Yolane Kukla, after her first session in the pool at Challenge Stadium. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australkian

Just a month after losing Blair Evans to the Gold Coast, one of Australian swimming's brightest young stars has landed in Perth for a fresh start.

Yolane Kukla admitted it was a huge decision to follow her long-time coach Michael Palfery from Brisbane to Perth - a place she had never even visited - but hoped it would pay off with success in the pool.

The 17-year-old, who won a gold medal at the London Olympics as a heat swimmer in the triumphant women's 4x100m freestyle relay team, gave her new home the thumbs up after her first training session at Challenge Stadium yesterday morning.

The freestyle and butterfly sprinter said it was the right time for a change of scenery.

"I just finished school last week and a lot of my friends are moving to different places," she said.

"I have been at St Peters (Western Swim Club) for 12 years now so it is good to have a change and get a fresh start."

Kukla burst on to the scene as a 15-year-old when she won 50m freestyle gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

She was the youngest member of the Australian swim team at London but just missed out on qualifying for an individual event.

Kukla said the goal now was to make next year's world championships as an individual.

Her mum, Kay, has joined her but the rest of her family have remained in Brisbane.

One day into a four-month trial, she said her first impressions were good.

"It is a pretty relaxed city," she said. "I think I like this sort of dry heat compared to the humidity in Brisbane."

Palfery, who made the move after taking up a high-performance coaching role with WA Institute of Sport, said Kukla should take a leadership role among other young swimmers in Perth.

"She's definitely got talent there," he said.

"At 14 years of age she was ranked eighth in the world for the 100m freestyle."