Lanitza teenager and prolific local swimmer Andrea ‘Torpedo’ Thomson, 15, recently competed in the 2023 Coffs Coast Ocea Swims and said she was excited and overwhelmed to meet Olympic gold medallist Brooke Hanson following the event. Image: contributed  

Clarence Valley star pooling further success

Emma Pritchard


Prolific athlete Andrea ‘Torpedo’ Thomson is continuing to make a splash in 2023.

After breaking nine records at the South Grafton High School swimming carnival earlier this year, including one which had been set close to 30 years ago, the talented teenager from Lanitza headed to Coffs Harbour where she competed in the Mid North Coast Zone swimming carnival, winning several events, and finishing a close second in the 50m freestyle.

She also took home the title of U15 Champion.

After enjoying further success in the pool at the NSW Regional Swimming Carnival in Alstonville, where she was again awarded the U15 Champion title, Andrea returned to Coffs Harbour on March 26 to compete in the 2023 Coffs Coast Ocean Swims.

And it was definitely another memorable occasion.

Along with celebrating her 15th birthday on the same date, Andrea came fifth in the 600m women’s open event, and revealed she was ecstatic to record a podium finish after placing third against more than 200 competitors in the 2km women’s open event with a time of 30:38 and was honoured to meet Olympic gold medallist Brooke Hanson following the race.

“Brooke was commentating on the event, and it was kind of an overwhelming moment when I spoke with her afterwards,” Andrea recalled.

“She was blown away when I told her all about my swimming career and what I have done to get to where I am now.

“She said to me ‘keep pushing on, don’t stop training no matter how hard it is, and keep pushing through the barriers,’

“She was very inspirational.”

As Andrea continues her training regime, which includes getting up at 3:30am, Monday to Friday, and swimming for two hours every morning before school and participating in two personal training sessions each week as part of her junior athlete development program, she said Brooke’s words have had a very positive and powerful effect on her, and they reminded her to keep focusing on her goals as she works towards them.

Next month, Andrea will journey to Sydney to compete in the NSW Combined High School (CHS) State Championships between May 3 and 5 and will take her place on the starting blocks in “every individual event” including the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, 200m IM (individual medley), 200m freestyle, and the 400m IM.