Swimmer shines at Summer Games
LANDSBOROUGH swimmer Sharlene Gardiner not only had to battle the world's best to stand on the podium, she had to do so on just a few hours sleep.
Gardiner, 31, recently returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Greece with a swag of medals.
She won gold in the 200m freestyle, silver in the 400m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay and bronze in the 800m freestyle.
While her gold medal-winning effort stood out, her father, Ray, said she had cause to feel most proud of her swim in the 800m.
Gardiner competed in that race just a few hours after taking part in the competition's opening ceremony and worked her way into the medals on the back of adrenaline and determination.
“They arrived and they were shipped to the village for the opening ceremony, which finished up at two or three in the morning,” Ray said.
“By the time they got back from the venue, it was about 3.30am or 4am the next day.
“She was pretty lethargic the next day but she did well to get third in the 800.”
Sharlene took up the sport 16 years ago as a means of improving her fitness.
Her natural competitive instinct kicked in and Ray soon realised he had a potential world champion on his hands.
The World Summer Games took her haul of medals gained at overseas events to 16.
She also competed at the 2008 Special Olympics and the 2007 World Summer Games.
She was one of four Sunshine Coast athletes to medal at the competition. Woombye's Jim Aarsse won silver in the shot put, bronze in the 200m sprint and finished fourth in the 4x100m relay.
Buderim's Brent Morris was a part of the silver medal-winning basketball team, and Bribie Island's Kate Wilson collected silver with the golf team.
WORLD SUMMER GAMES
Results for Sunshine Coast Athletes at the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Sharlene Gardiner (swimming): gold, 200m freestyle; silver 400m freestyle; silver, 4x100m freestyle relay; bronze; 800m freestyle
Jim Aarse (athletics): silver, shot put; bronze, 200m
Brent Morris (basketball): silver
Kate Wilson (golf): silver, teams