BJ Oates is proof a hard-working country ethic can overcome any small town disadvantages.
Oates is preparing for the swim of his life after he recently won selection in the Queensland School Swimming squad.
Bilo's own junior super fish gained a maroon cap after he won the 50m butterfly and finished third in the 50m freestyle in 11 years events for the Capricornia team at the state titles in Cairns recently.
“Butterfly BJ” will compete at the national swimming championships in Perth in September.
They don't waste any time getting you ready.
He was barely dry after his medal-winning swims, when he was yanked off the medal dais and into a fitting for Queensland team gear.
“It was crazy,” Oates said.
But the young swimmer was proud of his efforts.
“It's what I've been working for.
“I was excited (when he made the team).”
Now the hard part begins.
There is one small-town disadvantage that will require some work to overcome.
The Biloela pool is closed over winter, and his parents are looking at training options to get him ready for Perth.
Whatever option is chosen, one thing Oates will have to content with for the first time is chilly morning training sessions over winter.
It will be a change from his seven weekly summer sessions, some of which were in the mornings.
But a morning swim takes on a different meaning when brass-monkey weather hits in June.
He wasn't looking forward to it but it is another challenge BJ is ready to tackle without fuss, as he has done so far.
In February Oates won gold and silver medals at the Queensland Sprint Championships held at the Chandler Swimming Centre in Brisbane.
BJ won the 50m freestyle and was second in the 50m butterfly.
He swam personal best times in the freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke.
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