Months of training pay off
By GREG WHITE
THE months of endless laps of the pool finally pays this week when Tyalla Primary student Josh Chapman mounts the blocks of Homebush Olympic Aquatic Centre for the New South Wales PSSA championships.
With a national ranking of 20 in the 50 metre backstroke, Josh faces an gruelling schedule of events over Tuesday and Wednesday, not just in backstroke.
"I swim in all the strokes," he said, "not just a couple."
"All over 50 metres as I'm better at sprints."
Isn't he just.
At the regional finals held in Lismore, Josh won every 50 metre event.
"Freestyle, backstroke, breastroke and butterfly, I won them all," he announced proudly.
"But I could only manage eighth in the 200 metre individual medley."
Well, he did say sprinting was his thing.
With a hearing impairment meaning Josh swims in disabled events, it begs the question how he knows when the starter says 'go'.
"Sometimes I can hear the horn," he explained.
"But they give you a tap on the shoulder when you have to come from the blocks or a tap on the leg when swimming backstroke.
"With practice you soon get it right."
When training at Coffs Indoor Pool or competing against able - bodied swimmers, Josh gets no favours because of his hearing.
"Sometimes they hear the horn get a split second start before I know it's time to go, but not usually.
"I'm not at that much of a disadvantage."
At his last State titles Josh had an extraordinary meet, touching the wall first in every event except breaststroke.
But this time he goes to the city with a feeling of caution.
"There'll be different kids there this time and some of the ones I beat will have improved," Josh warned.
"All I can do is my very best."