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Setting a steady course

Lower Clarence swimmer Toby Campbell’s dedication to his sport has reaped rewards at the NSW Country Short Course Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre. Images: Contributed.
A year on from the last time Toby Campbell, 13, spoke with the Independent, he has made steady improvement, as shown by his efforts at NSW Country Short Course Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (July 1 and 2). Campbell made eight finals from the nine events in which he competed and won two silver medals. This achievement followed on from his performances at the Tweed North Coast Short Course Championships, where he won all 11 races in which he competed, setting six north coast records. “It felt good to get those results,” he says, “I got my first medals in the Olympic pool [in Sydney] and I was really happy with my PBs (personal bests),” of which there were seven. While Campbell has a goal of making the 2024 Olympic Games, his attitude is more about focussing on smaller goals and self improvement, by getting up early everyday to train locally and travelling to South Grafton and Evans Head to train during the winter months. “When I see the people who win and beat me, it makes me want to train harder to catch them,” Campbell says. “I don’t really care about beating people, but it feels good when I win.” Over the past year he has grown about 20cm, lengthening his body without too much weight gain, and has added core and flexibility training to his weekly regime. He has begun addressing the psychological side of competing, too: one of his coaches, Alan Paterson, has brought imagination to the table. “I visualise my race from the start to the end and the outcome of the race,” says Campbell. “I watch myself from the edge of the pool and also from the grandstand at the Olympic pool – all with a positive outcome. “I know what I’m doing: instead of just getting on the block and racing; now I’m getting my dives and start right, from how I’ve visualised it.” Fear of failure is not an issue for Campbell; rather he is focussed on improving one step at a time. Having made the north coast development squad (for swimmers achieving state qualifying times), he says next year he is “aiming to get into the national A squad of about six, who are recording national qualifying times”.