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Josh set to follow in wake of Thorpe

Tyala Public School Year 5 student Josh Chapman shows off some of the medals he has won in the past few weeks.
Tyala Public School Year 5 student Josh Chapman shows off some of the medals he has won in the past few weeks.

By GREG WHITE

IT'S now possible to finish first and second in a swimming race.

Sound unlikely?

Well, Tyalla Primary student Josh Chapman has the gold and silver medals as proof, but here's the twist.

Josh won gold in the 50 metre backstroke at the Pacific Schools Games in Melbourne before a check discovered an error and he was relegated to second.

But as time had passed, no changes were made and he was allowed to keep both placings and both medals.

Just another milestone for the 11-year-old superfish who's now bagged 40 medals in three years of competitive swimming.

"I don't how long I've been swimming," Josh said.

"Don't remember having lessons. All I know is I could always do it."

A member of Coffs Aquatic swim club, Josh received a special award this week from North Coast School Sports Association and managed to make himself known to Olympian Petria Thomas.

"Petria was standing at the door so I went over to say hello and ask for an autograph," Josh said.

"She's very nice, very natural."

A conversation with young Josh is like conversing with someone 10 years older.

So, where does he see himself in 10 years?

"Swimming at the Olympic Games," is the prompt reply.

"Ian Thorpe is my favourite swimmer and I want to do what he does."

"I want to specialise in butterfly while doing backstroke and the individual medley."

Realistically, those dreams are a decade into the future.

Immediate targets for Josh are the PSSA national titles next year and a spot on the Deaf Olympics team.

Still to be settled is the question of his favourite stroke.

"At the moment I concentrate on backstroke although butterfly is my favourite," Josh said. "Actually," he acknowledges after a moment in thought, "they are all favourites."