The National, Monday August 5th, 2013
Very few people experience the feeling of holding a national record in the sporting world, but even fewer experience that feeling whilst they are still a teenager.
Barbara Vali can now bask in the glow of that feeling.
It’s been a remarkable week for the 15-year-old at the 15th FINA World Championships.
The young swimmer from Papua New Guinea first of all broke her personal best in her first discipline of the week the 100m Breaststroke, with a time of 1 minute 16.03 seconds.
Now she has gone one better in the 200m version.
Barbara takes up the story; “I did a three second personal best from a 2 minute 50 seconds to a 2 minutes 47.99 seconds and broke the open and age record for Papua New Guinea.”
Turning after the first 50m in 37.72 seconds the athlete, who names former Australian swimmer Leisel Jones as her inspiration, recorded consistent split times on her way to the record.
A fact that was not lost on her;
“ I was really happy with my swim as I stuck to my race plan compared to my 100m and I had a good stroke rate. My coach was also happy with how I went. The plan for the 200m was to stay long for the first 50m with roughly a 36 stroke rate. I had a 37-stroke rate which was good. I normally don’t stay for that long but I did for this race.”
Her plan coming into this championship? In her own words, “to achieve personal bests and improve my ranking.”