Like the great Michael Phelps, Josh strikes gold
IT only takes a few minutes chatting to Josh Dixon to see why he's progressing so well in swimming.
The Michael Phelps fan is dedicated, well spoken and keen to see where his favourite sport takes him.
After winning three individual gold medals at the recent Queensland championships, Josh is well on his way to more sporting success.
Having achieved what he has aged 12 has the Woogaroo Swimming Club member emerging as one of the region's most exciting prospects.
During a busy week of competition at the latest state titles, Josh set personal bests in the heats and finals in each of his freestyle events.
The Yamanto swimmer improved his 400m by three seconds (4.29.7) in the final, recorded his fastest 100m time (now 57.89) and also reduced his 200 PB by three seconds (to 2.05.50).
He also made finals in the 12 years 200m individual medley and 100m butterfly but withdrew to concentrate on his freestyle.
Having made his state level debut last year, his latest all-round success was a terrific performance.
Twelve months ago, he swam 1.01 in the 100m, his only event. He made the final, just missing a medal.
This year, Josh also won silver relay medals representing a Brisbane District team in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x50m medley where he swam the freestyle leg.
His latest success at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre came after Josh won two silver and a bronze medal at his first Australian school championships in Darwin earlier in the year.
Those fine performances came in humid Northern Territory conditions where Josh battled an ear infection to gamely represent Queensland.
"I did pretty good at that one because I was pretty sick at the time,'' said Josh, who has just finished year seven at Ipswich Grammar School.
Josh gains inspiration from history-making Olympic swimmer Phelps.
"I reckon I've seen a majority of his races,'' the rising Ipswich talent said.
"I started looking him up and watching all the past Olympics.
"He's just so focused and the fact that he had a couple of issues and he came back. That dedication. He just wanted to get further and further.
"I just love the way that he didn't just say no and give up when something went bad for him.''
An elite Aussie swimmer Josh enjoyed meeting at the state titles was Olympic freestyler Cam McEvoy.
"After the 200m freestyle, he shook my hand and stuff and we were talking for a bit so it was really good,'' Josh said.
After first swimming with the Rosewood junior squad, Josh has spent the last two and a half years working with senior coach Noel Donnelly at the Woogaroo club.
"He's been really good, really supportive,'' said Josh, who turns 13 in May.
"If I need motivation, he's always there to give me motivation.''
Josh rates the 100m and 200m freestyle "tied'' as his favourite events.
"When I first learnt to swim I was always constantly getting in the pool, always wanted to get a pool,'' he said.
"When we finally got a pool, I sort of knew how to swim but I wanted to do more.
"We went out to Rosewood to get stronger at it then I really liked it.''
He now regularly trains seven sessions a week with the Woogaroo club at the Ipswich Girls' Grammar School pool.
"I want to keep doing it. I really love it at the moment,'' he said.
However, for the next week or so, he'll enjoy a break - including from those 4.30am starts.
Josh is happy his supportive mum Sharon also gets a little sleep-in after encouraging him so much.
Preparing for year eight, Josh rates science and history his favourite subjects.
"I just like to know what's happened before I was born,'' he said.