Winning attitude will take Hamish far
At 14 years old not many athletes are being prepped for what life would be like as a professional athlete.
But Wanaka paralympic swimmer Hamish McLean has been smashing under-19 New Zealand swimming records and heading to the New South Wales State Open Championships for some international sporting experience.
Hamish, who was born with achondroplasia, or dwarfism, will travel with the New Zealand Paralympic Development team to the competition, which will run from February 28 to March 2.
Wanaka Swim Club coach Fiona Hezinger his ‘‘sheer determination’’ and his competitive attitude would mean he was one to watch in the future.
‘‘I think he can definitely go to the Olympics. It will definitely happen, I don’t have any doubts about it,’’ she said.
Hamish said he likes to swim because it keeps him fit and he makes lots of friends.
He also likes to win medals and his goal was to race at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
He trains two days after school a week, three days before school and also attends two gym sessions a week.
At next week’s competition in Australia he will be competing in seven races and will be the youngest person in the development squad.
Hamish’s mother Claire said without the help of the swim club and his coach he would not have the opportunities he does.
‘‘She (Hezinger) has really coached him to believe in himself and get personal bests and strive,’’ she said.
The competition in Australia was important because international classers of para-athletes would be there to assess Hamish on his disability.
‘‘You can’t race internationally until you’ve been tested,’’ she said.
As member of the team he has been learning about nutrition, international regulation rules and what it was like to be an international athlete.
One to watch: Wanaka Swim Club coach Fiona Hezinger and paralympic swimmer Hamish MacLean, 14.