They trained out of the same pool at Warners Bay.
They have both moved interstate to pursue their Olympic dreams.
Now, the lives of Hunter swimming products Abbey Harkin and Tristan Hollard intertwine once more as they make their Olympic Games debuts in back-to-back events.
On Wednesday, Hollard contest heats of the men's 200m backstroke (8:32pm, AEST) before Harkin hits the water for the preliminary rounds of the women's 200m breaststroke (8:49pm).
Harkin, 23, will undoubtedly be buoyed by the gold-medal performance of training partner Ariarne Titmus on Monday, having both donned the formal uniform and watched the opening ceremony together in the athlete's village.
"You still pinch yourself and think is this real?" Harkin told the Newcastle Herald ahead of her maiden Olympic race.
"Everyone at home will be loving this and enjoying every moment, as I am too. It's the biggest dream come true."
Hollard, 24, is thankful for returning to the sport five years ago after he opted to walk away once he finished high school.
"I could never have known at the time the change of direction my life would take by getting back in the water," Hollard told the Newcastle Herald.
"It's all well and good to dream about making it, but to have come through the five years and be where I am now is unreal.
"I wish I could send myself a note to thank past me."
Hollard has three goals in Tokyo - bettering his personal best time of one minute, 56.40 seconds (1:56.40), becoming the second fastest Aussie for this event and making the final.
"For the last six months my coach and I have been working hard towards the goal of second all-time in Australia," he said. "The time for that currently is Ashley Delaney's [1:55.80]. It's not so far ahead of what I've done already and will only take some small improvements.
"We know what needs to be done and when is a better time to do a PB than the Olympic Games?
"Aside from the time, I'd really like to make the final. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that the 1:55 could make the top eight, but time will tell.
"It's an opportunity that only comes once every four, or in this instance five, years so I'll be gunning for it."
Harkin has her sights set on improving her individual mark of 2:23.59 and trying to make the decider.
"My ultimate goal would be to make a final and I'll have to PB to do that," she said.
"I've put in some good work and hope I'm on track to do that."
Harkin and fellow Aussie Jenna Strauch (2:23.12) are in the same heat with South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker (2:20.17) listed as the top entry time.
Hollard will be up against Tuesday's 100m backstroke champion Evgeny Rylov (1:53.23).
Semis for both events follow on Thursday from 12pm while finals are scheduled for Friday - women's 200m breaststroke at 11:41pm and men's 200m backstroke at 11:50pm.
The duo, who both won national titles in 2021, arrived in Japan following a recent training camp in Cairns.
They were each born in Newcastle but raised in Maitland, mainly training out of Coughlan's Swim Centre.
Hollard lived in East Maitland and went to Hunter Valley Grammar School.
Harkin grew up at Louth Park, attending East Maitland Public School and Maitland Grossmann High School.
Both moved to Sydney for senior years of secondary school before migrating north - Harkin with her family to Brisbane and Hollard, whose parents are now based in Dudley, to the Gold Coast.
She trains under Dean Boxall with St Peter's Western squad while he is coached by Glenn Baker at the Southport club.
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