Wanaka swimmer on the move
Wanaka’s only secondary school is Mount Aspiring College by name and also by nature.
Year 13 para-swimmer Hamish McLean, 17, became the first college student to achieve Olympian status while still at school when he was selected for the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
He was recently joined by college snowboarder Zoi SadowskiSynnott and freeskier Finn Bilous, who have been selected for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The college’s Olympic trio feature in this year’s 2017 sports honours list of 19 college students who are achieving nationally or internationally in sport or in youth leadership.
The 2018 Para Commonwealth Games is out of McLean’s reach, so he has been focused on finishing school before qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in his swimming classification, S6.
‘‘They don’t have my classification at the [Para] Commonwealth Games.
‘‘They have a specific number of classes and mine wasn’t in there,‘‘ McLean said.
Next year, he intends to study a Bachelor of Science, majoring in maths, in Auckland.
Auckland appeals because McLean wants to train under Paralympics NZ’s national devel- opment coach Gary Francis.
‘‘It is the High Performance Centre for Para NZ.
‘‘I go up and train with him every second holiday.’’
McLean’s focus has been on doing well in exams this year, but he has kept up his training with the Wanaka Swim Club and coach Natasha Flude, and he won medals at the 2017 New Zealand Opens.
He has also been working twice a week at the New World Supermarket to save for university and is enthusiastic about the free fees proposal.
‘‘Free fees would be great because accommodation is quite expensive. It is about $15,000,’’ he said.
McLean is a 400m freestyle specialist and also competes in 200 individual medley and the 100m free.
His pathway to Tokyo includes the next world para champs, in Malaysia in 2019.
He did not compete at the 2017 world para champs because of school.
His advice to other students competing internationally?
‘‘Just have fun. That’s what you are doing the sport for,’’ he said.