Alex Hayes has described the moment of receiving her bronze medal after finishing third in the 13-years girls 200m breaststroke at the Australian Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide as "amazing".
Arguably the biggest moment in the young Tamworth City swimmer's career, and putting her among the top swimmers for her age in the country, Hayes said she "couldn't stop smiling" as she stood on the podium.
Still on a high when she spoke to the Leader on Tuesday morning, winning a medal surpassed her goals going into the championships.
"My goal was to make the final and get a pb (personal best)," she said.
"Then going into the final it was pretty much to swim it better in terms of stroke count and hopefully get a pb."
She delivered on both counts, much to the delight of coach Nicholas Monet, bettering her time by 2.6 seconds.
"It's not only the placing but the way she did it too," Monet said.
"That's what's great. She really focused on the process."
In the fastest heat, he said she probably went out a bit too fast in the morning.
"She swam a different pattern (in the finals) so she could finish the race strongly," he said.
"Instead of swimming 100 strokes she did about 80 strokes, which was massive."
It enabled her to maintain her efficiency throughout the race.
"She went out in 37 seconds, she was 36 in the morning, and maintained low 42 seconds. That's the pace she has been working on in training," Monet said.
He believes she has "got a lot of potential for the future".
Hayes said it was great reward for the hard work in training.
"I've been doing some really hard sessions to keep my stroke count down," she said.
She will have a couple of days off now before the 100m, which is on Friday.
"I'm hoping for another pb in that," she said.
It was a great start to the championships for the Sharks with Connor Roberts just missing the podium in the boys 17-years 100m breaststroke.
"He was 12th before the preliminaries and just snuck into the final as the last qualifier and then got fifth and swam a fantastic pb," Monet said.
"It's not his pet event so it was a pretty good outcome."
Roberts and Brinez Lantz were back in the pool on Tuesday with Lantz swimming in the 15-years 100m freestyle and Roberts the 100m backstroke.