by Vanessa Jarrett
AUSTRALIAN Olympian and gold medallist Jess Schipper visited Biloela last weekend for a clinic with the Biloela Swimming Club at their annual sign on day.
Based in Brisbane, Jess said she loved getting out and visiting the juniors.
"It is always great to come out and do clinics,” she said.
"I love coming out and seeing locals in clubs.”
Jess was a member of Australia's gold medal winning 4x100metres medley relay teams in 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
Her 10-year career also featured three individual world titles and a world record in the 200 metres butterfly.
Since retiring in 2014, Jess took on a position with Swimming Queensland working with the junior dolphins.
"I have always wanted to stay involved in swimming and coaching wasn't my thing,” she said.
Reflecting on her career, Jess said she was pleased with her achievements.
"I am really happy with how my career was and I think this is where I am headed now in junior development,” she said.
Jess has been swimming since before she could walk and enjoys reliving her childhood through her job now.
"It takes me back to when I was junior, brings back memories and I try to make it as enjoyable as it was for me,” she said.
Getting out in smaller regional areas like Biloela was different to clinics in the city Jess said.
"In the cities access to things is more common, coming to regional towns you really get a feel for the enthusiasm the clubs have for swimming,” she said.
Having been involved with the swimming industry for a number of years now, Jess said she had seen some growth in the sport over the past few years.
"It is getting more popular and it is getting implemented in schools,” she said.
She encourages every parent to get their children involved in swimming.
"I am a massive advocate for teaching kids to swims, it is a life-saving skill,” she said.
"Being apart from saving yourself, if you fall into a pool, creek or dam, especially in Queensland because it is so hot, any sport is a good sport.
"And it is a great way of keeping fit and healthy.”
And for those who look up to Jess, she offers some advice.
"Set yourself small goals first, then the bigger ones,” she said.
"And never give up.”