IMPROVING youngsters and genuine medal prospects will take centre stage when Warrnambool swimmers compete in Melbourne this weekend.
Warrnambool Swimming Club has sent a 17-member squad to the Victorian Age Shortcourse Championships at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
It features frontline talents Isaac Jones and Brittney Berger, who head to the state capital upbeat about their medal hopes.
But an emerging batch of new swimmers will also compete at state level for the first time, a sign which bodes well for the club's future.
Coach Josh Sobey said having having 60 per cent of the squad make finals would be a good result .
But he said swimmers setting new personal best times was more important, particularly for seven youngsters making their state debuts.
"The junior system is working pretty well, we're starting to see the results now at state level," he said.
"I think because they start learning the basics, they pick it up a lot quicker and make states (titles) a lot earlier than they used to.
"First time you want to beat your time, do a PB and get used to it. It's all about the experience, really, not so much about placing."
Jones won nine gold medals and a silver in the open and 16-17 years section at Victorian Country Shortcourse Championships at Wangaratta.
He heads to Melbourne a strong chance to place in butterfly and individual medley events.
Berger also starred at the Wangaratta meeting with eight medals, including five gold.
Sobey said Fraser Harrison and Lainey Miller were "dark horses" and could surprise on the state stage.
"I don't think we'll judge it on medals, more so finals would be how we'll judge it as coaches," Sobey said.
"We always try to be in the top two or three out of the country clubs. If we manage to get in the top 10 in the state, that's usually a good result."