INCLUDED: New USC recruit Jemma Schlicht will join former Coast resident Brittany Elmslie in Canada.
INCLUDED: New USC recruit Jemma Schlicht will join former Coast resident Brittany Elmslie in Canada. Facebook

USC bolsters its impressive swimming ranks

SWIMMING: University of the Sunshine Coast's reputation for producing world-class swimmers received another boost at the weekend, with new recruit Jemma Schlicht earning selection in Australia's team for the FINA World Short Course Championships.

Schlicht made the move from Melbourne recently as she looks to gain selection in Australia's 2018 Commonwealth Games team and earn Olympic selection at Tokyo 2020 and will be guided by squad coach Chris Mooney.

Once considered one of the best teenage prospects in the country, Mooney said Schlicht battled to find her best form as she completed her high school studies in Victoria.

She has since re-gained it and swam a personal best 1min57sec to tie for third with Ariarne Titmus in the 200m freestyle final at the Australian Short Course Championships in Brisbane at the weekend.

It followed an outstanding week which included an eighth in the 100m freestyle (PB), 11th in the 50m butterfly (PB) and sixth in the 100m butterfly (PB).

The coach who guided Jake Packard, Taylor McKeown and Leah Neale to their maiden Olympics at Rio, said like all of his swimmers, Schlicht made a committment to dedicate herself to training and competing at the highest level before joining the club.

Mooney admitted her selection in the short course team was unexpected but wasn't a complete shock and he believes she can improve enough to be in the frame for Gold Coast and Tokyo team selection.

"I knocked on a table and said 'that's opportunity knocking',” Mooney said after Schlicht's personal best in the heats.

"I said 'if you fuel and rest properly then you can think about those opportunities'. She came back and swam another 2sec PB in the final.”

Schlicht's reward was her first selection in a senior national team, and she will race at the world titles in Canada early next month.

She joins the likes of Nambour-born Brittany Elmslie and Emily Seebohm in the team, while the rest of Mooney's charges stay in Brisbane for the Queensland championships.

"Getting that experience to race at the international level is really important for her,” Mooney said.

Young gun Kaylee McKeown, 15, also raised eyebrows at the meet, finishing third behind Emily Seebohm in the 200m backstroke final with a time of 2min5.42sec.

Many of USC's Olympic and Paralympic representatives were in action, including Blake Cochrane, Jake Templeton, Guy Harrison-Murray and Michael Anderson.

Swedish Olympian Erik Persson also represented the Coast club at the weekend, swimming 2min07.88sec in the 200m breaststroke heats.