Rising swimming star has sights set on 2032 Olympics

Jesse Worley with his medals on Tuesday. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Long-standing swimming records at Cranebrook High School fell earlier this year when Year 7 student Jesse Worley took down four records from the 1990s.

The 12-year-old former dancer broke the 50m freestyle record by 3.32 seconds; the 50m breaststroke record by 9.03 seconds; the 50m backstroke record by 4.42 seconds; and the 50m butterfly record by 8.69 seconds.

“The Deputy Principal said they’ve never seen anyone like me,” Jesse proudly told the Weekender.

Making Jesse’s feats that little bit cooler was the fact the original record holder, Shane Pirrie, was at the swimming meet at Penrith Ripples to see it all go down.

“I didn’t know he was there until I broke my first record, and he came up to me and said, ‘You’re Jesse, right?’. I replied, ‘Yeah’. He said, ‘I’m the old record holder’,” Jesse recalled.

“Apparently, Shane goes down to watch the swimming carnival every year to see if someone will break his records but this year, he was contemplating not going at all until someone said he must go because there’s a kid that’s going to break your records.”

Shane Pirrie and Jesse Worley.

Jesse not only broke Pirrie’s three-decade-old records but he smashed them out of the park, or out of the pool, in this case.

“Shane was so happy for Jesse. We even got messages from him saying he’s never seen a swimmer as good as him. He’s the best swimmer Cranebrook High has ever had,” Jesse’s mum, Jodie said.

Following his exceptional performance at the Cranebrook High Swimming Carnival, Jesse went on to compete at the Werrington Zone Swimming Carnival, where he destroyed another four long-standing records to be awarded Age Champion.

The Cranebrook resident then broke another 13-year record at the 2024 Sydney West Regional Championships and took home six gold medals in the process.

Jesse then qualified for the NSW Combined High School Swimming Championships, where he won another five gold medals before his toughest test came at the 2024 NSW All School Swimming Championships at Sydney Olympic Park.

Up against the best of the best in the state, Jesse won the 50m backstroke and collected bronze in the 50m butterfly. He finished fourth in both the 50m and 100m freestyle.

“The All Schools was tough… I was the only swimmer from Cranebrook High there,” Jesse said.

“I was racing in the 12 and unders. I would’ve made Nationals in two events that I placed, however there’s no age group at Nationals for it.”

Making Jesse’s accomplishments this season that more impressive, is he’s only been swimming competitively since May 2022.

The big Michael Klim fan trains at Nepean Aquatic Centre Swim Club under the guidance of top local swimming coach Sarah-Jane Weir.

“I’m at the pool at 4.45am four or five times a week,” Jesse said.

“My next goal is to make the State Development Program, but my ultimate goal is Brisbane 2032.”

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Weekender's Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.

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