OLIVIA Saunders swam the race of her life to blitz the field and be crowned Australian champion yesterday in Adelaide.
The Tamworth Public School (TPS) student was competing in the National Primary School Championships U10 50m breaststroke when she blew the field away with a stunning personal best (PB) time.
Saunders trains out of Kootingal and had a previous PB of 43.6s.
Amazingly, the young superstar knocked two seconds off this time in the heat before shaving another whole second of that time in the final to win with a blazing 40.64s.
Saunders qualified third fastest for the final after placing third in a very fast heat on Wednesday.
A perfect dive and streamline saw Saunders well in front of the field from the start where she stayed before finishing almost a second in front.
Proud mother Ann said it was almost a perfect race and an unbelievable time.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet for Ollie. She is very proud and relieved to have done it.”
That relief stems from her two older sisters already holding national titles in cycling, and now having one of her own.
Kooty coach Greg Poetschka was over the moon with the result.
“I expected her to do well but this is incredible,” Poetschka said.
Saunders didn’t have the best preparation, having three weeks out of the water in August with the flu.
“It wasn’t ideal although she is a pretty amazing athlete – very focused and very committed to training,” Poetschka said.
Saunders also finished fourth in the final of the medley relay, and sixth in the 50m butterfly final, swimming PBs every time she hit the water.
Fellow TPS swimmer Ryan Taggart also had success at the championships, qualifying for the 50m butterfly final before placing seventh.