How this Gympie teen will make his Olympic dream a reality
SWIMMING: This Gympie rising star aspires to represent Australia one day but his first step is to make it to summer nationals.
James Hangad has had a few weeks' break and is now working on lowering his times.
"School states you just have to make the places. For club nationals I've actually got to make a time,” 13-year-old said.
"I have been training for my fitness and endurance but it is up to my coach to decide on his plans.
"We do two hours in the morning and the afternoon. It is not just laps, it is pace work.
"The other day we did a set of 16 50m on a pace of 200, so you are swimming 50m but the pace you are going is if you were swimming in a 200m race.
"You have to hold a time while you do that, a couple children had to do it again because they didn't make the time.”
Hangad's ultimate dream is to represent his country at an international level.
"I want to represent Australia at the Olympics,” he said.
"That is one thing I really want to do and the early starts will be all worthwhile.”
The teenager was six years old when he started swimming and it was not a good experience.
"I was living in Kilkivan and I hopped into the pool, I didn't really like it,” he said.
"I stopped swimming when I moved to Gympie for about two years and came back into it at 10.
"Then when the Gympie Aquatic Centre was built I started up here.”
Hangad's mother cannot swim herself and it was through her influence that he got back in the pool.
"She really wanted me to learn and now I love swimming and getting to the carnivals.
"My favourite stroke is easily backstroke. It has been a stroke I was always good at and it has come naturally to me.”