JASON Pritchard believes swimming against Australia’s best in his age group will help further his career.
The Warrnambool teenager competed against national open 100-metre breaststroke champion Daniel Cave in a 17-18 boys’ 200m breaststroke heat at the Swimming Australia age championships in Brisbane on Tuesday.
He posted 2.35.31 – almost four seconds slower than his qualifying time – after a late program reshuffle.
“I was disappointed to swim slower but it depends on how you feel on the day and how you cope with the nerves,” Pritchard said.
“I was in the big boys heat with a national medallist and whatnot. It’s always in the back of the mind, what their race plan is and how they will attack it.”
Pritchard, who swam out of lane nine, said he battled nerves.
“I was supposed to be in lane four in the heat before but was pushed into an outside lane,” he said.
“I found out 10 minutes before the race time so I was a bit hesitant at first, being on the wall, but you can’t do much about it.”
The Emmanuel College student, who plays cricket for Nestles as an outlet from a busy swimming schedule, said he took positives out of the competition.
It was the third time he had competed at age national level but first in his prefered stroke.
“It’s about all the little things at training like technique, fitness and mentally,” Pritchard said.
“It was hard on the nerves not knowing anyone up here. There are barely any country swimmers up here.”
Pritchard, whose coach Jayson Lamb flew to Queensland to watch the race, was the only Warrnambool Swimming Club member to qualify for the nationals.