ELITE athletes aiming for Olympic glory are encouraging students to play sports at school and simply have fun.
Christ Church Grammar School Year 12 students Lachie Emanuel and Hugh Moran are among the nation’s best in water polo and swimming.
The duo, who also compete for the school, are striving to join alumni, Sydney Olympics gold medallist relay swimmer and school swim coach Bill Kirby and Rio Olympics water polo player George Ford on the school’s historic list of Olympians.
Emanuel is on the national team, holds a WA Institute of Sport scholarship and plays for the school and UWA City Beach Water Polo Club.
He said he had been playing water polo for nine years and trained twice a day Mondays to Saturdays.
“I think when you are young, the most important thing is to play to have fun,” he said.
“Play with friends, meet kids from different schools and keep your swimming up.
“Enjoy the competition and realise that not everyone wins, keep at it, train hard and play in the spirit of the game and respect your coaches.
“If you are passionate and love the sport as much as I do, the rest will follow.”
His short-term goal was to win back-to-back Dickinson Shields after flying to Barcelona on a school water polo tour, while his long-term goals were to be selected in the senior national team and represent Australia at the Olympics.
Moran, who is the best in WA for his age group, said he had been swimming for about eight years and specialised in 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
“I train between 10 to 11 times per week during the school holidays and eight to 9 times per week during school periods,” he said.
“I try to stay focused during classes and make good use of weekend time to catch up on study.”
His message for aspiring athletes was to become very efficient with limited time throughout the week.
“Try your best to stay focused on what you are doing in the moment and not what you will be doing later,” he said.
His short-term goals were to swim well at the Public Schools’Association interschool swimming competition and set new personal best times at the 2019 Australian Age Championships in April while his long-term goal was to represent Australia in a junior or senior team.
International School of WA head of sport and co-curricular Dylan Spiby also urged students to play sport.
“Here at the International School of WA, our sporting program includes a vast array of sports,” he said.
“We have a focus on futsal, surfing, athletics, cross country, athletics, touch rugby, basketball and volleyball.
“In the past two years, the sports program at the school has increased dramatically.
“We are now offering more than double the amount of both in school and outside of school sporting opportunities.
“There is now much greater opportunity for interschool competitions, with some great success including multiple students making WA state teams and a meritorious award for athletics.”
He said the programs helped students to follow their sporting dreams and enjoy being active.
“Sport is an amazing facilitator of learning; students learn interpersonal skills, communication skills, resilience, dedication and the feeling of working hard to achieve something,” he said.
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