Djaran breaking records in the pool
By MITCHELL DALE
WHILE Ian Thorpe is busily experimenting with hair care and skin care products, a potential heir to his superfish throne has emerged in the form of Macksville youngster Djaran Smith.
Although it might be a bit premature to dub a 12-year-old a future star of the pool, Djaran certainly boasts an impressive list of achievements.
The St Patrick's Primary School student has bagged more records than Molly Meldrum at various swim meets this year, including the recent NSWPSSA All Schools championships at Homebush.
On his way to the Homebush meet, Djaran claimed gold medals and records for the 100m and 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 200m individual medley at every meet he attended.
From the St Patrick's carnival, to regional and zone meets and even the NSW Catholic Schools carnival, existing records didn't stand a chance against the pocket rocket.
That's six swims for six records at every meet.
At the PSSA championships, he won gold in all six events and records in all bar the 50m fly, ironically his favourite stroke.
Naturally, he was named swimmer of the meet.
But the quiet and humble Djaran says the records and medals were not really part of his goals leading up to the PSSA championships.
"I just wanted to swim my hardest," he said. "We had heats and finals for every event, so I was pretty tired at the end."
Today, Djaran will vye for selection in the Australian team to compete at the Pacific Schools Games later in the year.
The young star reckons his best chances of Aussie selection lie in the 100m butterfly and 100m breaststroke.
St Patrick's sports co-ordinator Tony Kokegei said Djaran's achievements at PSSA were all the more special, considering he is at a big disadvantage compared to the city kids, who had the luxury of training in heated pools every day during the colder months.
"To do what he has done is quite amazing," Kokegei says.
"It is very difficult for country children, because they are usually at an extreme disadvantage."
Over winter, Djaran will be clocking up the kilometres on the road as well as in the pool.
Macksville pool has shut for the winter and the heated Nambucca Heads pool has closed, meaning Djaran treks up the Pacific Highway to train at Sawtell.