Mid North Coast swimmer Nash Wilkes, 19, is preparing for Australian Olympic swimming trials in June

ONWARD TO THE TRIALS: Nash Wilkes and coach Peter Sanders. Photo: Supplied/Darren Wilkes.
ONWARD TO THE TRIALS: Nash Wilkes and coach Peter Sanders. Photo: Supplied/Darren Wilkes.

Mid North Coast swimmer Nash Wilkes, 19, is preparing to power through the pool at the Australian Olympic swimming trials held in Adelaide in June.

The former Camden Haven High School distance education student, now Forster Aquatic Swimming Club athlete has moved from strength to strength in competitive swimming.

"I'm in the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the trials and obviously it will be great experience because you're swimming against the best in Australia, when they are at their best," he said.

"It's probably the biggest event I've ever been to, so I will just go and have a crack against the bigger boys.

"These other guys I'm against are in their mid-20s so if I can just work on my race plan, improve my times and get in a semi-final you never know what could happen.

"As I get older I'd like to progress and get up the ranks, make it into a senior team for Australia. My goal is to make small improvements each day and eventually get on an Australian team."

OFF THE BLOCKS: Nash Wilkes competing in the breaststroke at the Australian Swimming Championships. Photo: Supplied/Darren Wilkes.

OFF THE BLOCKS: Nash Wilkes competing in the breaststroke at the Australian Swimming Championships. Photo: Supplied/Darren Wilkes.

On his way to the Olympic Trials, Nash qualified for six events at the Australian Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast from April 14 to 18.

He excelled in the 50m,100m and 200m breaststroke events.

Nash swam a personal best time of 1.02.58 for the 100m breaststroke, the fastest qualifying time. From lane four he swam a time of 1.02.98 to win gold in the final.

Nash Wilkes claims silver in the 50m breaststroke. Video: Supplied by Darren Wilkes.

Nash was last to surface from the blocks in his qualifier for the 50m breaststroke, but recovered to receive lane five for the final.

He recorded another personal best of 28.58 in the final to win silver, only five one hundredths of a second behind the gold medal swimmer.

Nash was ranked ninth going into the 200m breaststroke with a personal best time of 2.19.51, but rose to second fastest qualifier after the swim heats.

In the final he took lane five and lead until lap three where he was pushed back to third, before overtaking the lead swimmers to record a personal best of 2.17.58 and win gold.

"That was probably the best meet of my life. When you get these results from national competitions it does make you hungrier to go faster and go swim against the best in the nation," he said.

"I see all the top breaststroke swimmers in Australia as my role models and it would be great to be up there with them.

"I'm swimming everyday, twice a day and having gym three or four times a week. I usually have Sunday off to chill with the family as a rest day."

PROUD FAMILY: Jess, Tess, Nash, Darren and Billie Wilkes. Photo: Supplied/Darren Wilkes.

PROUD FAMILY: Jess, Tess, Nash, Darren and Billie Wilkes. Photo: Supplied/Darren Wilkes.

Coach Peter Sanders, who has been training Nash for around eight years, said he is a great role model for junior swimmers.

"Every time he competes he knocks more time off. He trains hard, he's dedicated and he certainly has the potential," he said.

"We are looking at the next Olympics, going through one meet at a time to get there. He's only 19 now but he's certainly on his way.

"His results from the Australian Swimming Championships were outstanding. He has a great mental approach, I know how tough he is and how he can swim the backend of a race.

"He's also a great role model for the swimming club, he helps the young kids and they look up to him."