Set to swim the worlds

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­JORIE COOK

Wanaka swim­mer Hamish McLean is ready for rac­ing at Glas­gow’s IPC World Swimming Cham­pi­onships from July 13-19.

The 15-year-old Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege pupil is the Wanaka Swimming Club’s first na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tive and leaves for the North­ern Hemi­sphere on Fri­day, tak­ing strong sup­port from his com­mu­nity.

He at­tends a New Zealand Par­a­lympics train­ing camp in Or­lando, USA, be­fore go­ing to Scot­land to race in the open men’s 400m and 100m freestyle and 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley.

Coach Fi Hezinger said he would be the youngest swim­mer in the open men’s cat­e­gory by about two years. She un­der­stood the next youngest is about 17-years-old.

When McLean, who was born with dwarfism, qual­i­fied for the 400m (5 mins 43 secs) he was ranked eighth in the world, although Hezinger be­lieved that rank­ing may have since changed.

Hezinger said McLean’s me­te­oric rise to the top had been a ‘‘huge learn­ing curve’’ for the teenager and she was proud of how he had tack­led the pres­sure on top of his big train­ing work­load.

‘‘His max­i­mum train­ing load would be about 32km swimming a week, plus one gym and one pi­lates ses­sion,’’ she said.

‘‘He’s also been learn­ing about fundrais­ing and be­ing in the public eye as well as the in­creased train­ing and ev­ery­thing that comes with be­ing a su­per star – and do­ing his NCEA ex­ams. It is a big work­load for any 15-year-old.’’

McLean said he was ex­cited about com­pet­ing de­spite a frus­trat­ing work­load at times, par­tic­u­larly when it came to jug­gling school work and get­ting out of bed early.

‘‘Three times a week I get up at 5.20am and twice a week I get up at 5.50am. Week­ends are good,’’ he said.

McLean’s fundrais­ing has brought in at least $5500, thanks to a Wanaka Dis­trict Clubs char­ity auc­tion re­cently. More ac­tiv­i­ties have been ar­ranged.

Wanaka Para NZ team rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hamish McLean, 15, with his swimming coach Fiona Hezinger. McLean leaves this week for a train­ing camp in Or­lando, US, be­fore com­pet­ing at the World Para Cham­pi­onships in Glas­gow on July 13-19.

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