Category Archives: AMANZI Girls

Top 8 Reasons You Need to Know Who AMANZI Girl Hannah Russell Is

AMANZI Girl Hannah Russell

  1. Hannah is the World Champion in the S12 50m Freestyle. Hannah was crowned World Champion after winning Gold at the 2015 International Paralympic World Championships in Glasgow. She also finished with two silver medals in the 100m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke.
  2. Hannah was born visually impaired with a genetic condition that continues to deteriorate her eyesight. Because of this Hannah got involved with swimming, a safe and contact-free sport, and almost instantly fell in love.
  3. Hannah was scouted at age 13 for the Playground to Podium program which aims to identify and support talent potential in young disabled athletes.
  4. Three years later, at only 16 years old, Hannah won three medals at the London 2012 Paralympics, including one silver and two bronze medals.
  5. Hannah is now gearing up for her second Paralympic Games in Rio later this year.
  6. Hannah trains alongside fellow AMANZI Girls Jessica Fullalove and Jessica Lloyd at the Manchester training center.AMANZI Trifecta Jess, Hannah and Jess
  7. Hannah is a great role model for all disabled athletes and swimmers alike.
  8. Hannah has achieved all these things at only 19 years of age, so we’re excited for even more to come and can’t wait to see what is to come at this year’s Paralympics!

Ironman Cairns Race Report

Ironman Cairns, set in tropical Far North Queensland (which happens to be my birthplace) always promises to be a spectacular race. Swim 3.8km in the stunning beaches of Palm Cove, ride 180km along the Captain Cook Highway up to Port Douglas, taking in breathtaking views of the ocean and rainforest then run 42.2km along the Cairns Esplanade with unparalleled atmosphere and crowd support.

When I arrived at Palm Cove (the swim start) on race morning it was still dark and had been sprinkling/drizzling rain. Looking at the ocean it didn’t look appealing at all, the water was brown and choppy, the 70.3 athletes had already started and I was meant to do a warmup swim but was reconsidering.

AMANZI Girl Chloe Kay

The swim was somewhat uneventful for me, I know it was rough and a lot of people were thrown around out there, quite a few were pulled out by rescue boats so I guess I was kind of lucky. But I was relieved to feel the sand under my feet and hear my Mum on the beach cheering.

The ride began pretty nicely, despite having rained whilst we were swimming it was clear to begin with… For about 7 minutes. Just as I got around the first little corner and was heading on the Captain Cook Highway it started to rain, then pour. My nutrition plan was to get some Infinit in and a Cliff Bar eaten nice and early to replace what energy I had used during the swim and set me up for a good day. The rain meant I needed both hands on the bars and my full attention on the road, not unwrapping a bar.

The ride course is definitely interesting and variable, no one can argue with that. The hills are rolling, you pass through parts where the rainforest meets the sea, acres of cane fields, townships with people braving the elements to cheer and of course the famous Rex’s lookout. Riding towards Port Douglas there is a longer gradual climb to the lookout, and returning it’s a shorter steeper hill. First time round it wasn’t so bad and you wonder what all the fuss is about. Second time when there’s strong headwinds, horizontal rain and my legs were cramping I wasn’t loving it.

I absolutely loved the first part of the run, the crowd support was phenomenal. I had spotted Sue my training budding, Hannah and a few people more people I knew and tried to get into some sort of rhythm. I regularly run off the bike so know it usually takes me about 2-3km to shake out the bike legs and feel alright. After about 5km I was struggling, my coach Scotty had written in my race plan ‘You’re never going to feel as good as you do in the first 10km’ which had me worried… You mean to say it’s only going to get worse than this?

I know I have done a couple of Ironman races already, so technically I should know what to expect. Maybe the memories of the other races have faded with the pain. But it felt like I was hurting more than I had ever hurt before. I was struggling and not in a good place mentally or physically.

But just as I was writing the day off as a bad one, admitting defeat that I didn’t achieve any of the goals I had set out to do my coach appeared. I had passed Scotty a few times, the first time I told him I was dying and he answered with ‘Well this is an Ironman.’ Tough coach, thanks for keeping it real… But this time he ran up alongside me and said if I maintained my pace I could make it under 12 hours.

I thought that was already out of the picture, I asked him what pace I needed to run and he said 6min/km. I looked down at my Garmin and was doing 7:10min/km. Suddenly with a burst of motivation and light at the end of a long dark tunnel I picked up the pace and ran it home. I think Scotty was running to make it to the finish line in time to see me to finish so I tried to keep up with him (pretty much impossible). I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and got so many compliments and cheers on that last kilometre that I looked strong it actually made me feel a bit embarrassed (they hadn’t seen me walking and in despair not so long ago). But I soaked up the atmosphere and loved every minute of running down that finishers chute.

I made it over the line in 11:59:35 and my day from hell was suddenly all worth it, I had finally broken the 12 hour mark.

Until the next one, Chloe.

Read Chloe’s full race report here.

Why we love the Olympics

Is there anything better than the Olympics? You can just feel the hope and energy floating through the air as people pour their hearts and souls into capturing their dreams. While we would all love to make it into the games ourselves, watching it from at home can be a pretty amazing time too!

Can you believe it is already time for the Olympics again? While it seems like we were just celebrating the last summer Olympics in London, we are now ready to direct our attention over to Brazil for the next big event!

In case you missed it, the Rio Olympic Games 2016 begins on Friday, 5 August and ends on Sunday, 21 August. More than 10,500 world class from more than 200 countries will be competing for 306 sets of medals in 28 Olympic sports. This exciting group of competitions will take place in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo, Brazil’s capital Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus.

While we are all definitely going to be glued to the TV for the entirety of August, it is the water sports that we’re the most excited about! In the swimming there is going to be a total of 34 swimming events with 17 women’s events and 17 men’s event including two 10-km open-water marathons. In the diving events, we will get to witness some world class acrobatics in the 3m and 10m Platform events, as well as the synchronised diving events.

We also very excited to see the Womens Triathlon Event on Saturday 20th August with three of AMANZI Girls having already qualified.

Even if you can’t watch the entirety of the Olympics, you will most definitely want to mark your calendars for 6 to 13 August to watch 2016’s impressive group of swimmers. We will be watching this year’s big events in the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. For the open-water marathon, block off your schedule for 15 to 16 August to watch the planet’s top swimmers race through Fort Copacabana.

Only 50 days to go!

Welcome Zsofia Kovacs

We are very excited to welcome Hungarian triathlete, Zsofia Kovacs to the AMANZI Girls team as she gets ready to compete at her second Olympics in Rio later this year.

AMANZI Girl Zsofia Kovacs

Zsofia is part of the Wollongong Wizards triathlon group where she trains alongside fellow AMANZI Girls Tamsyn Moana-Veale and Amelie Kretz, as well as world number one, Gwen Jorgensen.

The 2010 Hungarian Cup winner has been racing on the ITU circuit since 2004. Zsofia regularly places in the top 10 for her age group, including placing 4th for two consecutive years at the 2015 Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup. Zsofia finished in the top 25 at the World Triathlon Series race in Leeds over the weekend.

We can’t wait to watch Zsofia race in Rio alongside fellow AMANZI Girls and Olympic Qualifiers Vendula Frintova and Gillian Sanders.

Please welcome Helena Gasson!

We are very excited to welcome New Zealand swimmer, Helena Gasson, to the AMANZI Girls team.

AMANZI Girl Helena Gasson

Helena has been swimming at a national level since she was 9 and now at just 21, holds two New Zealand National records.

The 2015 reigning champion in the 100m and 200m Butterfly, as well as 200m and 400m Individual Medley, improved once again in 2016, finishing with two national records and three national titles. Helena broke the New Zealand record for the 100m Butterfly, as well as improving upon her own New Zealand record in the 200m Butterfly heats.

After such amazing results and times at New Zealand Olympic Trials, Helena qualified to represent New Zealand in the 100m Butterfly at this year’s Rio Olympics.

But Rio will just be the start of more to come, with Helena’s eyes set on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

We can’t wait to support Helena every step of the way on her road to Rio and beyond.

2016 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama

AMANZI Girl Laura Lindemann

AMANZI Girl Laura Lindemann finishing 10th over the weekend

The World Triathlon Series headed to Yokohama this weekend for the fourth race of the season and more importantly the last chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics for many of our AMANZI Girls. A huge congratulations to Canadian AMANZI Girl Amelie Kretz finishing 8th in a career best performance.

8th – Amelie Kretz

10th – Laura Lindemann

41st – Zsofia Kovacs

45th – Erin Jones

49th – Gillian Sanders

Congratulations to all girls who have already qualified for Rio and best wishes to all the girls patiently awaiting the decision from their relevant Triathlon Federation.

Jade’s Adventures

AMANZI Girl Jade competing in Amsterdam

View from the top, AMANZI Girl Jade on the 10m Platform

It is such an honour to represent your country and being chosen to do just that was not only a dream come true but a highlight of my short career so far. Pulling on an Australian costume for the first time was amazing and I will never forget how that felt. I was fortunate enough to travel with my own coach, who was also selected for the tour, and a bunch of amazingly talented junior Australian divers of varying ages and experience who were so supportive helping to make this experience so memorable. As a team we were successful in winning the Amsterdam Cup, doubling the points of any other nation, and I got to witness some fantastic performances from my team mates. My best result in Amsterdam was making a final of the 3m springboard event and finishing 4th. Personally I learnt a lot about myself and competing internationally for my country, especially in Dresden where nerves and pressure certainly come into play when I was no longer a “big fish” in a little sea. The Dresden Youth International was tough and I struggled a bit, but was happy to bounce back to be within 10 points of the 3m final in a very tough field. I am grateful to have been given this opportunity to see exactly where I am at and where I need to be. The drive to be better and improve personally is the biggest thing I took from this experience and I can’t wait to get back into the pool striving for my next goal and a chance to do it all over again.

Until next month,
Jade xx

Georgia Davies secures her ticket to Rio

We are very excited to announce that AMANZI Swimmer Georgia Davies has secured a spot for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Georgia won the 100m Backstroke, with the third best time of her career and her fastest time since the Commonwealth Games in 2014.  However, despite winning the 100m Backstroke, the new British Champion had to anxiously await official selection due to the controversially difficult qualifying times.

Nevertheless, the official announcement came late last week that Georgia is now off to her second Olympics and we couldn’t be happier for Georgia.

The British Paralympic Trials is currently underway with AMANZI Girls Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE and Hannah Russell both racing and hoping to qualify for their second Paralympics.

2016 Australian Olympic Trials

We are very proud to announce that AMANZI Girl Paige Leonhardt has qualified for the 2016 Rio Paralympics! At only 15 years of age, Paige was announced as part of the team following her performances at the Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide this week!

Congratulations also to AMANZI Girl Calypso Sheridan making two Open National Finals and finishing 7th in both the 200 IM and 400 IM.

AMANZI Girl Calypso Sheridan

Many of our other AMANZI Girls backed up an amazing week at Australian Age Championships the previous week, with even more impressive results. Tanya Stovgaard placed 8th in the 50m Backstroke Final, with AMANZI Girls Imogen Watson and Mia Rolfe finishing 9th and 11th respectively in the semi-finals. Mia Rolfe also finished 12th in the 50m Freestyle against Australia’s fastest in a time of 25.87.

Other standout swims from our AMANZI Girls included:

Calypso Sheridan – 10th 200m Breaststroke, 12th 100m Backstroke

Jessica Adams – 15th 200m Backstroke

Tahlia Blanshard – 6th 50m MC Butterfly, 7th 50m MC Backstroke


Australian Age Championships Multi Class Swimming

Our AMANZI Girls, Keira, Tahlia and Paige have finished off the final two days of Australian Age Championships with outstanding results in the Multi Class events. A huge congratulations to the girls and their results below!

Keira Stephens 

1st 11-14yo 100m Backstroke MC

1st 11-14yo 50m Breaststroke MC

1st 11-14yo 50m Backstroke MC

1st 11-14yo 100m Breaststroke MC

2nd 11-14yo 100m Freestyle MC

3rd 11-14yo 50m Butterfly MC

Tahlia Blanshard

3rd 15-16yo 100m Butterfly MC

4th 15-16yo 50m Freestyle MC

4th 15-16yo 100m Butterfly MC

5th 11-15yo 200m IM MC

5th 15-16yo 100m Breaststroke MC

7th 15-16yo 100m Freestyle MC

AMANZI Girls Paige and Tahlia

AMANZI Girls Paige and Tahlia

Paige Leonhardt 

1st 11-15yo 200m IM MC

1st 15-16yo 50m Breaststroke MC

1st 15-16yo 100m Breaststroke MC

3rd 15-16yo 100m Butterfly MC

Paige and Tahlia will both now be going on to compete at Australian Championships and looking to qualify for Rio! Good luck girls!