Rocky swimmer putting in hard yards ahead of Pan-Pacs
SWIMMING: Nine pool sessions and three heavy gym sessions a week.
That is the rigorous training regime for Rockhampton swim star Ty Hartwell as he ramps up preparations for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Fiji in August.
The 17-year-old booked his place in the 30-member national team after winning gold in the 200m backstroke at the Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Championships in Sydney.
Coach Shane Kingston said the selection was a "massive stepping stone” for his talented young charge.
"That was our main aim for this season - to have a good crack at making a junior national team,” he said.
"He's been taking gradual steps and making good progress but this is a huge opportunity.
"He's done a couple of Pan Pacific school nationals but this is a genuine international meet and there's going to be some very hot competition.”
Teams from 20 countries, including the USA and Japan, will compete in Fiji.
While Hartwell is guaranteed starting in the 200m backstroke, there is a good chance he will race in several other events.
Kingston said while medals were a very real prospect, the primary goal was to go faster.
"We're just talking times at this stage. Ty went 2.01.8 at nationals and we'd like to break the 2.00.5,” he said.
"On average per lap it's not that great an improvement; there's a few areas we know we've got to work on and we've a nice whack of time up our sleeve to do that.
"If we can put together a better race plan and Ty can swim faster then we've done everything within our control and that's all we can do.”
Kingston said it had been quite the journey since Hartwell first starting swimming lessons as an eight-year-old.
"There's been a lot of highs, that's for sure,” he said.
"What struck me first about the young Ty was his diligence and his work ethic.
"One of my assistants would give him homework and he would come back to the next lesson and it was obvious he'd done it.
"He always had a competitive streak and could always be honest with himself.
"He worked hard and his constant improvement kept him motivated and kept him wanting more.”
Hartwell is highly regarded on the swimming circuit for his determination, his hard work and his modesty, and there are few who would deny him his incredible success.
Dad Scott said it was incredibly satisfying to watch his son's rapid rise through the ranks, and acknowledged it had been a team effort led by Kingston.
"Ty just loves swimming - and he loves swimming fast,” Scott said. "My dad, Fred Hartwell, was a national level swimmer too so it's nice for him to follow in his foosteps.
"For me, the whole journey's been a highlight, watching it all unfold, seeing the hard work pay off.
"Swimming's been so good for Ty; it's taught him some valuable life lessons.”