FRESH from the buzz of a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, Carine swimmer Tamsin Cook is ready to graduate into the senior ranks of her sport.
The 17-year-old has been nominated for WA Junior Sports Star and WA Sports Star of the Year after an impressive performance in the 4×200 relay, which clinched a silver medal for Australia.
“It’s just an honour to be nominated as it is because the calibre of the athletes is always so incredibly high – so many people have done amazing things this year,” she said.
As the youngest in the Rio Australian swim team, Cook said this was a “big deal” outside of the team.
“I got asked about it in interviews a lot, ‘how does it feel to be the youngest’; but within the team it is so much of a unit and everyone is so supportive of each other,” she said.
“The team were really welcoming and supportive of me as the youngest but they also included and treated me like an equal which really mattered to me because I didn’t want to be seen as someone who couldn’t achieve the same because I was younger or less experienced.”
While she admits the Rio media throng and the crowds were intimidating at first, Cook said she got used to performing under pressure.
“It was a bit overwhelming at first, they took us for a walkthrough of the stadium when you first get there – it is literally 200m of media and cameras there,” she said.
“I think there was nervous energy going around for sure; it is such a high-pressure situation and everyone is there to achieve that one thing.
“As an athlete, you have to separate from that, when you get closer and closer to your event you’ve got to try and ignore it and make sure you’re in the right state of mind before you step out to race.”
Cook describes the moment she realised the team has taken out the silver medal as a mixture of emotions.
“I don’t know if I can put it into words honestly it was a complete mixture of so many emotions; I was in disbelief, I was ecstatic and it was a bit of a blur at the time,” she said.
“My favourite moment was just getting to jump out of the pool and getting to hug the girls and realise that we’d achieved this all together and relays are really special to me because you get to share that moment with three other people and that was amazing.
“You develop a really special bond where you have experience this one thing together that no one else can relate to and I’ll always hold that very close to my heart.”
Despite a whirlwind year there is no slowing down for the swimming champion with a “full on” 30 hour a week training schedule, studying for exams towards her ATAR and heading to the Queensland State Championships this month.
“You do have to have the high performance athlete mindset on most of the time even when you’re not at training because you don’t want to train that had and then do something out of training that is just going to ruin that,” she said.
“It’s pretty intense to maintain that but we get our breaks during the year and time to wind down – I do relax – and love the training so that helps.”
This WA Sports Star awards will be held at the Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre on December 12.
WASF AWARDS: short history
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Sports Star awards night, with nominations coming from members of the WA Sports Federation, is steeped in history,
First won by former Australian hockey captain Morna Pearce in 1956 when the award was known as the Sportsman of the Year, household names such as Herb Elliott, Barry Cable, Margaret Court, Dennis Lillee, Graham Marsh, Ric Charlesworth, Neil Brooks, Peter Matera, Rechelle Hawkes, Ryan Bailey, Steve Hooker and Cam Meyer are all members of a select group that numbers 72. Dockers superstar Nat Fyfe was the successful athlete last year.
While much attention focuses on the major award, the Sports Star, there are a number of other awards presented on the night –Junior Sports Star, Perth Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Official of the Year, Service to Sport and the Beyond Sport – John Gilmour Medal.