Swim star laps up the bronze

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Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Nine year old Sofija Neric at the Peel Twilight Carnival.
Camera IconNine year old Sofija Neric at the Peel Twilight Carnival.

Nine-year-old Bosnian-born Sofija Neric has gone from non-English speaking to bronze medal breast-stroker in just three years.

Sofija and her family emigrated from Serbia in 2012 when her father was offered a job as a surveyor in the South West.

Her mother Biljana said unless you were wealthy in Serbia it was hard to get ahead.

“We had two children under the age of three and were both working hard but struggling to get ahead,” Biljana said.

When the Neric’s were offered a chance of a better life for their young family, they packed up their lives and made the move.

Sofija first arrived in the South West at three years of age unable to speak a word of English.

Following a chance encounter with Australind Swimming Club coach Shane Jamieson a few years later, Sofija had her first swimming lesson.

“At the time, the only option we had for Sofija to join in was with our youngest competitive squad,” Jamieson said.

“Now we have a junior Dolphins program designed for children who need to build their swimming ability.”

Jamieson said he recognised her determination early on.

“She couldn’t even make 25m when she first started, so we gave her as much assistance as possible because we could see she wanted to get ahead,” he said.

Three years later, Sofija is taking home the bronze she won at the Peel Twilight Carnival for the 100m breaststroke in a record time of 1 minute 55.15 seconds.

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