At the age of 15, Yolane Kukla is caught between being a school girl and an international star. After the Australian National swimming championships earlier this year, life has taken a big turn for her.
She may be the youngest of the Australian team in the Commonwealth Games, but her name has already been marked out as the most prodigious talent in world swimming today.
This pocket-sized Brisbane school girl, who is poised for further stardom, was one of the few Australian swimmers at the S.P. Mukherjee swimming complex on Saturday evening. Along with compatriots Alice Coutts, Felicity Galves and some others she had a feel of the facilities.
Though carrying a rib injury suffered after her sensational senior international debut at the Pan Pacific championships in California in August, Kukla is hopeful that everything will be alright by Monday morning when she will have to face the starter in the 50m butterfly heats.
However, emerging from the pool, Kukla made a point that should catch the attention of the organisers and technical personnel connected with the competitions here.
“The water is quite cold. It should have been warmer by at least a couple of degrees,” she said.
Kukla, besides the 50m butterfly, is also expecting to figure in the 100m fly, 50m and 100m freestyle and the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays.
However, she would not take part in Sunday's march-past along with other swimmers who have competitions between October 4 and 6.
“She is really going to miss it. But there is no other way, as it has been already decided that swimmers who have competitions through the next three days should give it a miss,” her coach Michael Palfery said.
Palfery was also hopeful of Kukla putting her best foot forward at the competitions.
“Of course, the injury had put the brakes on her preparations. But nevertheless, she is quite a determined swimmer and I am hopeful that she will come through in style.
“She is such a fierce competitor, despite her age,” he added.