Mt Pleasant: High hopes and Olympic dreams for pole vault teen Lauren Hyde-Cooling

Lauren Hyde-Cooling flying high early this year at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships. Picture: Getty Images
Lauren Hyde-Cooling flying high early this year at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships. Picture: Getty Images

HAVING had a taste of international competition, teenage pole vaulter Lauren Hyde-Cooling has set her sights on an even biggest stage – the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 18-year-old Mt Pleasant resident, who has just returned from competing in the World Junior Championships in Finland, said it’s every athletes dream to represent their country at the Olympics.

To get there she will need to leap at least 4.50m, 46cm higher than her current personal best.

“I’ve had a little taste so it would be good to be able to make it onto the Australian team at a senior level,” she said.

“I guess that’s the best you can do, that’s the highest you can go.”

Hyde-Cooling described competing at the World Junior Championships as a great experience, but was disappointed with her performance.

She bowed out of the competition in Finland early after clearing 3.65m.

“I didn’t compete the way I had hoped,” she said.

“I was battling a little bit of a foot injury in the lead up but that’s definitely not an excuse, I just didn’t really have a good day out there.”

The young athlete was originally interested in distance running but after a trial in the senior pole vault squad when she was 13-years-old, the sport that has given us heroes such as Steve Hooker, Tatiana Grigorieva and Vicki and Liz Parnov quickly became her ‘thing’.

MORE: From Brentwood to Finland: The special friendship forged by aspiring international athletes Lauren Hyde-Cooling and Lara Ilievski in under-7s competition

Hyde-Cooling will continue training for the 2018-19 domestic season and also is hoping to compete at the World Junior Games in Italy next year.

She said after graduating from Santa Maria College only last year, she was still coming to grips with juggling training six days a week, study and part-time work.

“It can be a bit hard to balance it at first but if you can surround yourself with the right people and communicate with everyone you need to then it’s not so bad,” Hyde-Cooling said.

She said the best thing about being an elite athlete was being able to see your results.

“When you work so hard every day and then you finally get a PB or a result you’ve been aiming for a while it can be really rewarding,” she said.