In A Lane Of His Own

2020 ryan chai web 01Ryan Chai is only ten and yet he already seems unstoppable in the pool, having recently taken out the Age Champion in the Christian Schools Sports Association State Swimming.

The Year 5 Pacific Hills student was first introduced to the sport when he was six after having a pool party and not knowing how to swim.

“All my other friends knew how to swim but I was one of the only ones who didn’t know how to and I wanted to so my Mum started pushing me in the pool with inflatables. One day she didn’t put the inflatables on and I didn’t know but I was able to stay up!”

2020 ryan chai web 02Four years on and now Ryan is well and truly past inflatables, training three to four days a week at Galston Aquatic Centre.

When asked what he enjoys most about the sport, Ryan explained,

“I love swimming, it’s fun when you hit the cold refreshing water on a hot sunny day”.

His favourite stroke is backstroke and he draws inspiration from fellow backstroker, Ryan Murphy.

So far Ryan has been lucky to not have had too many injuries in swimming.

“When I used to dive in my nose would start bleeding. It turns out I was looking too far upwards so the water hit my nose. Correcting my diving posture fixed that problem”. Mother Queeny explains Ryan also had Nasal cautery to stop the bleeding.

Outside of swimming, Ryan enjoys maths and playing cello in the band at school. He’s also interested in trying out other sports such as table tennis, basketball and cricket.

“I definitely feel like I’ve made sacrifices like doing other sports. I can only focus on one, otherwise there isn’t enough time to do all of them!”

Ryan has high hopes for his swimming, hoping to qualify for Nationals and possibly the Olympics one day. He’s now preparing for the NSW Junior State Age Championships and CIS Championships.

When asked how he felt when he became a State winner, he said he was excited and not too shocked, having done the calculations needed to secure a victory for Pacific Hills and Junior Dolphins.

Like a true sportsperson, Ryan has been able to effectively channel the mixture of emotions he gets right before he competes, from experiencing an adrenaline rush to feelings of stress to relaxation and excitement.

“Swimming has brought Ryan happiness, friendships and sometime tears. As parents we will try our best to support him and hope he can go further”, said Queeny.

We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Ryan!

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