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New sensation -

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New sensation

Broadcast: 30/09/2010

Reporter: Paul Lockyer

Despite a worrying lead up to the Commonwealth Games, it is hoped that sport will start making
headlines. The pressure is particularly on Australian swimming, with its ranking slipping from
second to fifth in the world. Much hope has been placed on young swimmers such as Emily Seebohm who
has already displayed the talent and drive to take on the world.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: More than half the Australian team is already in New Delhi, including the
swimmers, who face a big test at these Games. Traditionally number two in the world behind the
United States, Australia has slipped to fifth and has much work to do to prepare for the London
Olympics in two years' time.

In New Delhi, the team will be investing a great deal of hope in a host of young swimmers,
especially Emily Seebohm, who has already displayed the talent and the drive to take on the world.
Paul Lockyer reports.

PAUL LOCKYER, REPORTER: Emily Seebohm is on the rack, swimming against a 35 kilogram weight. She's
renowned for her determination and a fierce desire to win.

EMILY SEEBOHM, SWIMMER: I guess it's just getting in there and smashing people, you know. I'm
always really competitive.

MATT BROWN, COACH: She's broken world records at a very young age and she's got an arsenal of
events that people would just dream about.

PAUL LOCKYER: Seebohm's enormous potential was spotted early by coach Matt Brown.

MATT BROWN: She showed straight up that she could race. She had the talent and she loved to race.
But just watching the development of her from the age of 10, 11 right to where she is now has just
been great to be part of.

PAUL LOCKYER: Coach and swimmer have drawn up some very ambitious long-term goals.

MATT BROWN: At first it was, like, we said, "Well let's see if you can be the new female Michael
Phelps." And after a while, I said, "No, let's not think of female Michael Phelps, let's be the
first Emily Seebohm." And I think she's really stepped into that mode very well.

PAUL LOCKYER: Any comparison with Phelps, who won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, is
cause for great excitement in Australian swimming. Like Phelps, Seebohm has the variety of strokes
and the stamina to compete across a wide range of events. She's entered in eight of the
Commonwealth Games.

EMILY SEEBOHM: I need to focus on not just one event, but a lot of different events. It's just
easier for me to handle myself.

LEIGH NUGENT, COACH: She has versatility, she can swim very fast in the 100 freestyle, backstroke,
obviously, the medley and also butterfly. So, you know, she can pick the events that suit her in
the schedule of events and be competitive for us. So, that's a bonus.

PAUL LOCKYER: Seebohm displayed her versatility at the recent Pan Pacific Championships. Having
already won the 50 metres backstroke, she was hunting for victory in the 200 individual medley.

LEIGH NUGENT: There's no way anyone was gonna go past her. She has that determination and that
courage that you look for in the athletes that can win.

EMILY SEEBOHM: I was just amazed. And I was just like, "Well, now it's my time to show everyone
what I can do and everything else, you know, stretch my wings."

MATT BROWN: And just the maturity she showed, like, she was really at ease with the environment she
was in, you know. She's blossoming into a young lady rather than a little girl and you could see

JOHN SEEBOHM, FATHER: Great pride, both of us, and as a family as a whole we're all quite excited
about what Emily does and we all enjoy the ride, I s'pose.

PAUL LOCKYER: Karen Seebohm can barely contain her pride when she watches her daughter swim.

KAREN SEEBOHM, MOTHER: I feel like I'm actually swimming every single stroke with her. And, yeah,
it's just incredibly exciting for all of us. And you're basically watching the clock and then
watching her and watching the clock.

EMILY SEEBOHM: And I just tell her to chill out all the time, but she doesn't listen.

PAUL LOCKYER: Emily's parents both achieved at high levels in sport; Karen in netball, John Seebohm
in Australian Rules Football.

Do you have to pinch yourselves sometimes, even though you've had great sporting careers that
you've got somebody like this in the house?

KAREN SEEBOHM: Yep, we do.

JOHN SEEBOHM: All the time. We even spoke about it at Pan Pacs because who would believe, you know,
like - and we say it quite regularly: "Who would believe ..."

KAREN SEEBOHM: "... that that's our daughter." And John just said, "Are you kidding me? Is that our
daughter there?" We just looked at each other and went, "Man, that is awesome."

PAUL LOCKYER: She was a schoolgirl when she won her way to the Beijing Olympics.

A turning point in this sporting success story involves this bike. Emily Seebohm left the Athletes'
Village in Beijing during the Olympics to purchase this and ride it back. The only problem was that
it was on the eve of her final important race and when the coaches found out, they were furious.

EMILY SEEBOHM: I just knew that I was in so much trouble. I was so upset.

PAUL LOCKYER: Alan Thompson, the head coach at the Beijing Games, castigated the teenager and said
he'd have to reconsider her place in the medley relay.

EMILY SEEBOHM: I was so upset the whole night; I just really wanted to be in the relay. And then in
the morning I was told that I was in and it was just a big relief for me. And I get in there and I
was so nervous that I actually swam good.

PAUL LOCKYER: Emily Seebohm provided a great start for the Australian team, producing her best swim
of the Games.

EMILY SEEBOHM: The most amazing thing I've ever felt. You know, I got to the wall and I was like,
"What, that's my time?" Like, I was just so amazed with it.

PAUL LOCKYER: Her backstroke leg helped to set up a gold medal performance that smashed the world

The coaches who had been chastising Emily Seebohm were delighted at the way she had responded to
the pressure.

MATT BROWN: From what I've seen, I think she's developing into somebody who just thrives on
challenge. She's turned into a real tough so and so.

PAUL LOCKYER: And there's a gold medal around her neck, and a bike in the shed.

KAREN SEEBOHM: Yeah, that was amazing. Yeah. The bike was just the icing on the cake, really.

PAUL LOCKYER: Emily Seebohm's cycling is now confined to an exercise bike at the gym.

There are high hopes for her at the Commonwealth Games, but her coach believes the best lies
further ahead. Perhaps at the London Olympics in two years' time.

MATT BROWN: She's now just starting to get physically stronger, so for the next few years it's
gonna be like a very exciting ride.

EMILY SEEBOHM: And this is just what I love to do. And for people to notice me doing something I
love is really nice.

KERRY O'BRIEN: There'll be plenty of notice in the next few days. Paul Lockyer with that report.