Kids lap it up for a great cause

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By Jen Gourley

$2640 – that’s how much three kids from Biloela raised last month to help sick children.

Out of the kindness of their hearts, Olivia Osborne, 11, Charlotte Maas, 16, and Cooper Maas, 12, committed to the Starlight Super Swim Challenge during February, and each had a formidable goal to achieve.

Charlotte’s goal was to swim 25 kilometres, Cooper’s goal was 30 km, and Olivia was aiming for 32 km. And guess what? They all reached their goals! In fact, Cooper and Olivia must have followed Dory the fish’s philosophy of “just keep swimming” as they surpassed their distance goals, with Cooper reaching 32 km and Olivia swimming her way to 40 km. Not bad, considering it was their first challenge.

For Charlotte, this was her second year of doing the Starlight Super Swim Challenge.  

“I did it last year, and I very much appreciated it,” Charlotte said. “It was a good learning experience. I kind of left it to the last minute last year, so I challenged myself to do extra this year. And I did that very easily.”

This time around, Charlotte said she’d learned not to procrastinate, to just get in and do it.

“It was very rewarding, as well as seeing how many kids you’d helped.”

Olivia gave it a go because she thought it would be a good challenge for her and “because it was a good cause”.

And Cooper wanted to do it because he likes helping people.

It’s easy to just say 25 km, or 32 km, or 40 km, but that actually translates to a lot of hard work in the pool. 25 km = 500 laps of a 50-metre pool. 32 km = 640 laps. 40km = 800 laps.

For the Maas kids, music helped them pass the time in the pool (Charlotte and Cooper said they could both imagine songs in their heads).  For Olivia, she just focused on her goal and how many laps she’d done.

And at the end of all those laps and all of that effort, this terrific trio felt such a sense of achievement.

“I was very excited and proud of myself for doing it,” Charlotte said. “It was rewarding and it’s good to know where it (the money) goes to.”

As for Cooper… “I felt so happy that I actually did it,” he said. “I thought I’d be like Charlotte and do it last minute.”

And Olivia? She also felt happy that she took the plunge.  “I’d never done anything like it before,” she said with a smile.

Terri Osborne, Olivia’s mum, and Katie Maas, Charlotte and Cooper’s mum, are both proud of their children’s swimming achievements and their kind hearts.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Terri. “They’re all at different levels in schooling but they’ve found the time to do the additional swimming on top of already doing school and swim club.”

“Charlotte did it last year,” Katie said. “And she did 20 km and with work, and school and stuff, she only just made it. But she learnt from that and then this year she put it up to 25 km and she got it done in three weeks.”

Unfortunately, the Maas family had to isolate for the last week of February due to Covid, otherwise they would have probably logged even more laps.

 “I would have liked to have seen what the kids could do given another week but that’s okay,” Katie said.

“As a parent,  I’m, and so is Terri, really proud that they’re thinking of others, you know, and raising money for children.”

So, in the end, Charlotte raised $645, Cooper raised $600 and Olivia raised $1395 – all to help sick children through the Starlight Foundation.

Across Australia, 6081 swimmers took part in the Starlight Super Swim Challenge, raising $2,617,659 and swimming 275,063 km.

Cooper’s Starlight Super Swim Challenge cap.
Time to celebrate!
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