He might have hated it at first, but Tallwoods’ youngster Harrison Tancred has certainly had a change of heart since he first learned to swim as a six-year-old.
The grade five student from Hallidays Point Public School trains four times a week at the Great Lakes Aquatic Centre and the hard work has been paying off.
With a flurry of results in the last six months alone, including a win in the 10-and-under 50 metres boys’ breaststroke at the NSW Short Course Championships, he’s being recognised as a potential star of the future in swimming circles up and down the coast.
“I think he’s got huge potential,” head swimming coach for Forster and Taree YMCA, Peter Sanders, said.
With 38 years’ coaching experience - including at an international level - Mr Sanders is well positioned to comment on the virtues of the young swimmers who come under his tutelage, and he believes Harrison has all the makings of someone who could go a long way.
“He hasn’t got a lot of weaknesses,” he said.
“He’s good in all strokes, he works hard on his skills - I haven’t seen a kid enjoy swimming so much in a long time.”
Mum Alicia Tancred agreed that Harrison’s love for the sport was unwavering.
“He just loves it,” she said.
“He’s happy to get up at 4:30am and go to training.”
But while he lacks nothing in passion or potential, Mr Sanders admitted it was still necessary to be patient with the young charge.
“The hardest part is trying not to overtrain him,” he said.
“There’s nothing worse than burning out a 10-year-old kid.”
To ensure this, Mr Sanders said they tried to set realistic short-term goals and focus on his development from week to week.
With both the NSW Long Course Championships and the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association (PSSA) carnival coming up in the next month, Harrison has plenty to set his sights on in the immediate future.
His goal is to bring home two medals from the NSW Long Course Championships.
But like all kids, he’s got his dreams.
“I would like to compete at the 2028 Olympics and be a young Olympian like Kyle Chalmers,” he said.
While Mr Sanders said it was far too early to comment on Harrison's Olympic chances, he admitted that with a good head on his shoulders and a solid family support system behind him, the youngster was developing extremely well.
"He's well and truly performing above our expectations," he said.
For Harrison's parents, they're just happy to see him do what he loves.
"We're super proud," Mrs Tancred said.
"He never ceases to amaze us."