Seals captain hangs up goggles
FOR Ben Gaskin, swimming began as a hobby and a way to keep fit.
In fact, the Emerald Seals captain said he hated competitive swimming at first, but after a few years started to love it.
"One day I was swimming and I got told I made states,” he said.
"When I was younger, I thought only the really good swimmers made states and I just thought I was doing it for fitness.
"So I was surprised and I was happy (to make states).”
Since then, Ben has excelled at swimming, most recently qualifying for the 2019 Queensland Sprint Championships next month.
Despite this success, Ben is hanging up his goggles at the end of this season and retiring from competitive swimming.
The Grade 12 student said his looming graduation, coupled with ongoing issues with his shoulders, prompted the decision.
"I've been competitively swimming since I was nine, so that's seven years ago,” he said.
"In recent years my shoulders have been having problems, so I'm still definitely going to keep up swimming for fitness, but I need to fix my shoulders.”
Ben said he was both happy and sad to be retiring.
"I look up to the people around me, so when I moved here, it was three seniors within the club that I looked up to because they were all making states,” he said.
"I'm still friends with them now even though they're at university.”
Birthplace: Winton, Queensland
Date of birth: August 8, 2002
Preferred swimming style: When I was younger, it was breaststroke, but then as I moved into high school, it became butterfly and backstroke.
Personal best: 1:11:37 (100m backstroke)
Favourite professional swimmer: Michael Phelps
Favourite career moment: Qualifying for states