Meet Sarah: Pymble’s Swimming Superstar

Meet Sarah: Pymble’s Swimming Superstar

Do you remember what you were doing when you were 16 years old?

For Sarah Tian (Year 10), it’s a year in her life she will never forget, having recently spent a week in Brisbane at the 2024 Australian Swimming Trials racing against the nation’s best swimmers in an attempt to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games.

Making it to Olympic qualifications as a 16-year-old is an almost unheard-of achievement in itself; what makes it even more remarkable is that Sarah only began swimming competitively in Year 6 and started training seriously the following year.

If you find it a bit hard to believe that someone could rise to the most elite level of swimming so quickly, you aren’t alone.

“I only found out [that I had qualified] after a friend told me,” Sarah said.

“I thought she was joking but when I realised she was serious, and that I had actually qualified, I was very surprised, but also very happy.”

Make no mistake, Sarah’s accolades and achievements haven’t just happened by luck – most competitive swimmers with the goal of making it to the Olympics, or at least Olympic qualifications, never realise their dream – and her weekly training regime proves just that.

“I swim around six or seven days a week, with two gym sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays. I have to wake up pretty early for morning sessions, usually around 5.00am, meaning that I have to make sure I’m getting to bed on time,” she said.

As great of a swimmer as Sarah is, she has a good head on her shoulders and her feet firmly planted, prioritising her studies just as much as her training.

“Swimming takes up a lot of my spare time, which means I have to spend my time after school and on weekends wisely so that I can juggle racing and school work efficiently,” Sarah said.

What Sarah has achieved at such a young age is extraordinary, but the lessons she’s learned from the sport of swimming in just a few short years is testament to who she is as a person and leaves little doubt to the reasons behind her success.

“Swimming has taught me to value hard work and determination,” she said.

“It isn’t always easy to get the results you want, but swimming has taught me to persevere and learn from the mistakes you make and focus on what you can improve on and do better in the future, rather than on the mistake itself and being overly negative.”

Still two-and-a-half years away from finishing school, Sarah is uncertain about what her future will look like, but she is committed to going to university and maintaining her love for swimming.

“I would love to be a professional swimmer, but it is extremely hard to make it that far, and I have plans to go to university after school,” Sarah said.

“It would be a really hard decision to make, but I would probably focus on university and academics, and keep swimming as a hobby.”

Whatever her future holds, it’s clear that Sarah has the world at her feet. But if she does choose to continue swimming, and once again makes it to Olympic qualifications in 2028, she will be faster, fitter and stronger, and her rivals better watch out.