CHILDERS TEEN CALEB SPARK RE­TURNS FROM NEW ZEALAND NA­TIONAL SWIMMING TI­TLES

Lo­cals dive in to help Caleb swim in Wellington

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page -

EV­ERY­ONE knows a spark of tal­ent can go a long way with the right train­ing and prepa­ra­tion, but how far can you go with the support of a com­mu­nity like Childers?

In Caleb Spark’s in­stance, the an­swer is roughly 2700km.

Pow­ered by waves of com­mu­nity support, Spark re­turned from the New Zealand Na­tional Swimming Cham­pi­onships at Wellington with a swag of per­sonal bests and top-10

Shel­ley Whi­taker There aren’t many peo­ple out there with the same drive as Caleb.

fin­ishes in all nine events.

Not bad for a lad who only swam com­pet­i­tively for four years.

Spark was pleased with his ef­forts in the pool, but it was the dis­trict’s help that stood out more than any­thing.

“That was re­ally good,” he said.

“So many peo­ple helped out. We had a trivia night be­fore I left and we had so much support.”

In ad­di­tion to Drunk­Bean and the Fudge shop’s do­na­tion of prizes for a trivia night, 10 busi­nesses kept spon­sor­ship tins in their of­fices to help the 15-year-old ful­fil the next step of his dream.

Isis Dis­trict Swim Club pres­i­dent Shel­ley Whi­taker, who con­trib­uted baked goods and self-made lip balm for Spark to sell at swimming car­ni­vals (after some trial-and-er­ror she noted), said lo­cals were happy to help.

“I don’t know many adults who put in the amount of work he does,” Whi­taker said.

“He’s cer­tainly worked hard for what he’s achieved. Swimming is his dream and he’s fo­cused on mak­ing it.

“It (the fundrais­ing suc­cess) was his mother through and through.”

Spark has the type of rou­tine that leaves you ex­hausted just read­ing about, but the 15-year-old takes it in his stride.

Whi­taker said Spark’s suc­cess could serve as ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion for Isis Dis­trict SC mem­bers de­spite the fact he is now with Fairymead.

“He had to make a tough decision a few years ago and at that stage the coach­ing was a bit bet­ter at Fairymead,” Whi­taker said.

“There aren’t many peo­ple out there with the same drive as Caleb.

PHOTO: KATHER­INE KOKKONEN

IN BE­TWEEN RACES: Tom Green, Caleb Spark and Tom Cole take a breather and have a laugh.

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