For 17 year old Dariya Gorshechnikova-Illich, November 2018 will mark more than one major turning point in her life.
Along with her Year 12 cohort, she’ll be embarking on life outside the grounds of A.B. Paterson College. But while most of her friends prepare for university or head off to find adventure during a gap year, it’s likely Dariya will be preparing for a monumental battle – to gain selection in the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020.
Dariya has every right to feel confident about the prospect of joining the intensive Australian Synchro Olympic Program, after her recent successes at the 2018 Queensland and 2018 Australian Open and Age Group National Synchronised Swimming Championships.
During March, Dariya – and her team mates – scooped the pool at the Queensland Titles, coming away with two first placings against four other Queensland Synchronised Swimming clubs. These outstanding results saw the team qualify for this month’s 2018 Australian Titles – the largest Synchronised Swimming National competition in the history of Australian Synchro.
Dariya shone against 218 athletes representing 17 clubs from six countries, such as New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
After Dariya’s Michael Jackson-themed Junior Technical Team routine was awarded a silver medal, the Gold Coast Mermaid Club’s Free Combo Team routine then scored gold for Queensland! Dariya’s club went on to win the 2018 Club Championship Trophy with 14 gold, six silver and three bronze medals.
To say the rest of this school year will be challenging for Dariya, is an understatement. She plans to juggle her Year 12 studies with an intensive synchronised swimming training program.
There are just over 800 days until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Best of luck Dariya!