Edwards' fast lane to swimming success
Teenage swimming sensation Chelsey Edwards is going places - and fast.
The Upper Hutt 15-year-old has some important swim meetings and individual goals ahead of her in the next few months.
First up are the New Zealand age-group champs in Wellington from March 21 while, a few weeks later, she will be at the Australian equivalent in Brisbane with a 22-strong Kiwi team.
A freestyle specialist at all distances, Edwards is at the top of age-group [under-18] swimming in New Zealand and on target for selection to the Junior Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas in July.
And next year, the full Commonwealth Games in April on the Gold Coast are a definite and realistic ambition.
Edwards has already achieved a Games' qualifying time with a 26.06s effort in the 50-metre freestyle.
However with Swimming New Zealand's reduced funding that does not bring automatic Games selection. She will have to replicate or better that time at one of two meetings in the second half of the year to claim a place in an expected team of just 12 athletes.
"It's going to be so good, there's a lot of things to look forward to," the Chilton St James Year 11 student said of the months ahead.
Chelsey has a top work ethic and knows she has to continue putting in to achieve her goals.
With her Swimzone club coach Frank Tourelle she trains at either Naenae or Stokes Valley twice a day, four school days a week and also on Saturdays.
That leaves little time for any social time but living a life very different to her friends is something Chelsey accepts.
"My routine is tiring and so my weekends are for sleeping really, sleeping and schoolwork.
"It's hard to find the time for study but I get around it. I am always focussed when i'm at at school."
After early swim achievements while at St Joseph's primary, Chelsey was awarded a Chilton St James scholarship.
That's a big help as swimming at the highest level is an expensive game.
Chelsey is grateful for all the support she receives, especially from her mother Debbie who makes a huge sacrifice in time and money .
The Upper Hutt community is also playing a part in helping Chelsey achieve her sporting ambitions, Debbie Edwards said.
"I try to work on a budget of $14,000 a year but really that is not enough. This Australian trip is $4000 alone and the Bahamas will be another $6000."
"The Silverstream Lions Club and the Cossie Club have been very kind to us and this year we were lucky enough to receive $7500 from them.
"To be honest we wouldn't be been able to do what we are doing without their help," she said.