A young Thames swimmer is breaking the mould after qualifying for the winning the seven-eight-year age group at the ‘Legend of the Lake’ swim held in Rotorua on Saturday, February 17, 2018.
The win secured James Heap a sought-after place in the Jet Super Swim Squad, a National Junior Swim Squad.
Seven-year-old James Heap from Thames won his age group at which was the third of six qualifying events in the seven swim Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.
His performance obviously pleased his parents Ashesha (who is of Indian origin) and Matthew Heap (who competed in the adult section of the event).
James lives in Thames and goes to Parawai School.
Many young swimmers train daily to prepare for such an event, but young James in clearly a natural. He swims at a Thames Swimming Club but has only done lessons and a couple of fun carnivals.
He did no extra training for the event on Saturday with a cracked heel bone.
James will be in Auckland with a caregiver for a weekend camp in April, where he will be taught by an elite coaching team comprising top New Zealand swimmers in a pool and ocean environment.
Throughout the season, each qualifying event will allow children an opportunity to earn a place in the 36-member squad.
James Heap (extreme right) with other young swimmers