Walsh carries on the good work
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.