Trident High School
THE 5am starts are part of the addiction for top swimmer Ryan Wilkinson.
Ryan is less than a week removed from recording his best times at the New Zealand Secondary School Swimming Championships in Wellington. He said he trained four times per week during the season, with three of those in the early hours before school.
“I started swimming seven years ago and it really started with my parents not wanting me to drown. The early morning trainings are hard at the start but you get used to it.
“Swimming started as an activity, then it became a habit and now it is an addiction. I don’t feel well if I don’t train.”
His drive to swim competitively began when he attended weekly club nights, which he said was his first taste of competition.
Ryan said his strongest stroke, excluding freestyle was breaststroke. He said freestyle is everyone’s go-to stroke and was the base that they work from. His best placing in Wellington was the 12th overall in the 100-metre breaststroke. He also swam a personal best of 35.13 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, lowering his previous best by one and a half seconds.
He said competing against the country’s top swimmers was important.
“It is a great experience. Going to these top events makes the smaller meets seem more manageable.
“Even when you are in an event where you know there are swimmers way ahead, you go in just trying to win your heat and go from there. You push yourself.”
Ryan said he had used kickboxing as a cross-training method and it had played a part in improvements.
“I am still trying to get to that point I know I am capable of reaching. But you have to have a go and you won’t know until you push yourself.”
Ryan said he is not far from the qualifying times for national division one, which includes the top senior swimmers in New Zealand.