Young sailing sensation takes on Europe
AIRLIE Beach's Hamish Swain is quickly becoming a sailing sensation after a national win took him to Europe to compete in the World Youth Championships in Poland.
Up against the international fleet for the first time, Hamish sailed past the finish line in 19th position in a 30-strong field, before heading to Italy for the Windsurfer LT Worlds.
Lake Gardenia set the scene for the LT regatta, where Hamish raced in several events and nabbed the title of Windsurfer LT World Youth Champion.
He earned the title after placing first in lightweight and youth, fifth overall in the marathon race, third for lightweight in the course race, and being the only lightweight in the slalom finals.
After taking up the sport just two years ago, Swain has been out to make a name for himself, and has his sights set on the 2024 Olympics.
He currently leads the pack in Australia, but Swain said his recent overseas trip was a game changer.
"Competition was a lot more intense in Europe,” he said.
"It's made a big difference to my racing because everyone who was sailing was really good.
"There were no bad sailors in the fleet and you're racing right beside the other competitors which made a big difference.
"It's helped me to improve and the change has been massive.”
The Year 12 student trains on the water six days a week and also fits in running, cycling, and gym sessions while completing his final year at Proserpine State High School.
Coached by Dennis Winstanley, Swain said his love and appreciation for the sport was what got him through the countless training sessions.
"The sensation while you're out on the water is really soothing - when you're out there, no one can bother you, it's just you,” he said.
"When you do have people on the water with you who appreciate the sport, then it's really cool to be able to share that with them as well.”
While back in Airlie Beach, Swain will be focusing on his training before heading to the NSW Youth Championships ahead of the 2020 Australian Youth Championships in January.