Walsh car­ries on the good work

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT/ NEWS -

Swim­mer Ben Walsh’s ca­reer continues to soar.

The 17-year-old, the first swim­mer from the Porirua City Aquat­ics club to be selected for a na­tional team, made a fine show­ing in the re­cent Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onships in Auck­land.

He won the 100m and 50m breast­stroke.

His per­for­mances at the re­cent na­tional age cham­pi­onships in Welling­ton also earned him se­lec­tion for the ju­nior Pan Pa­cific cham­pi­onships in Hawaii in Au­gust.

‘‘The club is re­ally happy and have been re­ally sup­port­ive, es­pe­cially be­ing the first swim­mer on a na­tional team since the club merged with the Mana club to form Porirua City,’’ Walsh said.

The Tawa Col­lege year 13 stu­dent first en­tered the wa­ter as a 2-year-old.

‘‘ My grand­fa­ther and fa­ther were both swim­mers. Be­ing in New Zealand and sur­rounded by wa­ter, my par­ents be­lieved I needed to learn to swim and that’s how I got in to it at the age of 2.’’

Top-class breast­stro­kers in New Zealand are rel­a­tively rare, with dou­ble Olympian Glenn Sny­ders dom­i­nant in re­cent years, and now based in Los Angeles to get more qual­ity breast­stroke com­pe­ti­tion and coach­ing.

‘‘ I started to shine more in breast­stroke at the di­vi­sion two na­tion­als and I’ve stuck with it from there,’’ Walsh said.

‘‘I like the push-offs and the feel­ing of power in the glide.’’

Af­ter his im­pres­sive show­ing at the Ocea­nia champs, he is now fo­cus­ing heav­ily on prepa­ra­tions for the ju­nior Pan Pacs.

‘‘I am so ex­cited about the ju­nior Pan Pacs, not just be­cause it is such a high-level in­ter­na­tional meet, but it’s in Hawaii. ‘‘I’ve not been there be­fore.’’ He wants to break the 1min 02s bar­rier for the 100m breast­stroke at Hawaii which would make him New Zealand’s fastest ever teenage breast­stro­ker.

‘‘I would love to give Glenn a run for his money next New Zealand Opens,’’ he said.

‘‘Long term I want to make the Olympics – maybe in 2016 if I keep on im­prov­ing the way I am, but other­wise 2020.’’

He is un­sure if he will head to univer­sity next year or take a gap year to fo­cus on his swim­ming.

Im­pres­sive form: Ben Walsh won two ti­tles at the Ocea­nia cham­pi­onships in Auck­land.

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