Special incentive takes star from Aussie crawl to nationals
SWIMMING: An Ipswich youngster inspired by his grandmother lit up the School Sport Australian Championships.
Goodna's Douglas Weaver nearly had to pay the additional baggage charge as he carted his incredible medal haul home from the Melbourne Aquatic Centre.
In his maiden national competition, Weaver showed no sign of nerves as he performed at his peak to collect silver in the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 200 IM, as well as bronze in the 50 fly.
Remarkably, the 10-year-old, who was introduced to the water before he could crawl, smashed his fastest times in all four events.
The superfish also represented his state with distinction in the relays, collecting silver in the 10-year boys medley and freestyle races, and gold in the mixed event. In a breathtaking display of staying power, he completed the challenging program, backing up for heats and finals, inside just two days.
The Camira State School student said he was elated with his achievements given it was the first time he had tested himself at the highest junior level. He said the weighty medals were a reward for all of his tireless work and sacrifices.
Weaver's grandmother, Jade Weaver, encouraged him to take up the gruelling sport to benefit his asthma and he joined the squad at Waterworx aged five.
Training relentlessly 10 sessions per week under experienced mentor Peter Cherry at Springfield he continues to shave seconds of his personal best marks.
The driven young athlete said his grandmother was his idol and the reason why he was so hungry for more gold.
"I want to hold an Olympic gold medal in my hand, and maybe break a record or two,” Weaver said.
An impressed Cherry said his charge had exceeded expectations in his debut on the big stage given the exhausting demands of an extensive program.
He said a different New South Welshman finished ahead of Weaver in each of his individual events and he anticipated it would not be the last time the young dynamo dominated a major competition.
"His secret to success was his never say die attitude and commitment to his training,” he said.
"If he keeps going the way he is going, there is no reason why he can't reach the Olympics.”
Ipswich multi-class competitor Mercedes Siganto also bagged gold in the 13-year 50m breaststroke and medley relay, and silver in the 100m breaststroke.