A seven-year-old from Wauchope is swimming at the state championships in Sydney next month.
Axl Pope, who goes to Wauchope Public School, will compete at the NSWPSSA State Swimming Championships at the Sydney Aquatic Centre in Homebush on Wednesday April 5.
Although he is only seven, Axl swam the 50-metre distance for the first time at his school swimming carnival earlier this year, and the crowd cheered as the young talent powered up the pool.
This opened up his world to competitive swimming,
Axl enjoyed the buzz of the carnival spirit so much, with stars in his eyes he turned to his parents and said he wanted to go all the way so he could compete in Sydney's Olympic pool.
With a grin on their faces, they assured him he could do anything he put his mind to.
And sure enough after competing last Wednesday at the North Coast championships, he secured his spot at state.
Axl comes from a swimming family with his Aunty Vicki owning and operating Vicki’s swim centre in Port Macquarie.
Vicki herself was trained by Olympic champion Brad Cooper on the Gold Coast and continues his passion locally by instructing all levels from babies to champions.
“You’d think I’d have had him in since he was baby,” said his mum, Renate.
“But he only really started lessons when he was four and a half.
“He’s just one of those kids who is really sporty. He sees it, and he just does it.
“When we put him in the water, he sunk straight to the bottom. He didn’t naturally float along the top.
“He loves it. He loves swimming, and he loves making new friends and meeting other kids every week, and competing against them.”
More recently Axl has enjoyed being coached by Wauchope pool’s Larry Brooks and will continue to do so now that the pool has been reopened.
He’s just one of those kids who is really sporty. He sees it, and he just does it.
Axl has also received great encouragement and recognition from his school, which makes the journey even more enjoyable.
It has been quite some time since a swimmer from Wauchope primary has competed at a state level so the energy is alive.
Axl, we wish you all the best in chasing that dream.