It pays to do the hard yards
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
SWIMMERS Josh Chapman and Michael Anderson are starting to get a collection of medals that would make an Anzac Day march pale in comparison.
At the recent School Sports Australia National Titles in the Homebush pool, both handled themselves with aplomb to put their name in lights.
Anderson, a Bellingen High student, put in a herculean performance to collect seven gold medals from as many events.
Swimming in the S10 section, the 18-year-old was quite modest about his medal haul even though he managed to swim personal bests in three of his four individual events.
"I wasn't too sure how I'd go as it was the off season which means there's not too much training," he said.
"I didn't think I'd win seven events because going to the meet, I was only sure I was doing five events.
"It might have been different if another swimmer Matt Cowdrey was racing but he was with the paralympic squad in Germany."
Anderson believes that coming under the tutelage of Cheryl Neville has made a world of difference to his swimming and even during the off-season Neville has continued to give her time to helping develop her young charge who only missed out by 0.31 seconds on the 50m backstroke world record.
The next goal for Anderson is the trials to break into Australia's Paralympic squad in August.
If he achieves his goal and makes the team then it's off to the International Paralympic Committee's World Swimming champs in South Africa.
Tyalla Public student Josh Chapman may be tender in years but already he has become acquainted with the Homebush pool and national titles.
Two gold medals was Chapman's reward at the titles, standing on top of the podium after winning the 50m fly and 4 x 50m freestyle relay.
"My coach reckons that backstroke is my best stroke but at nationals I didn't do that well," the 11-year-old said.
"I think butterfly is my strongest one."
Next year Chapman will be graduating up to Orara High and he expects the move to secondary study to make life a bit more difficult but the three kilometres he swims at each training session should hold him in good stead.
Each swimmer has a different coach and trains at their different centres but both admit that there's one common element between them that created their success, and it's the same ingredient most successful athletes use ? hard work.