'HUNGARY' FOR GOLD
SWIMMING: Gladstone Gladiators Swimming Club product Jack Cartwright is set to embark on an adventurous campaign overseas.
The 18-year-old is in Budapest in preparation for the 17th FINA World Championships and is the youngest member of the Australian male swim team.
He has been in Europe for a month to hone his skills and get accustomed to the conditions and he will compete in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay, 4 x 100m freestyle relay and his pet event, the individual 100m freestyle.
Jack's proud mum Michelle Cartwright said her son has already achieved things beyond expectations.
"The main focus is the 2018 Commonwealth Games and this may be just an extra feather in his cap,” Cartwright said.
Jack's self-belief reached fever pitch after he was nominated as the Australian Swimmer of the Meet at the Junior Pan Pacific in Hawaii last year where he accomplished Junior Pan Pac Meet records in the 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle.
"He then swam at the trials for the Opens, but there was one last hurdle.”
"Two days before the trials, he had bronchitis, but he had fire in his belly and he secured a spot in the World Championships by finishing fourth in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay,” Cartwright said of Jack's determination in overcoming sickness.
Perhaps his biggest break came at the expense of a fellow athlete's misfortune.
"Kyle Chalmers pulled out of the Worlds because he had surgery (to correct his heart ailment called supraventricular tachycardia),” Cartwright said.
This opened the door for Jack, who ironically has suffered from a mild form of this condition as well.
"Jack had the same heart condition, but it had righted itself,” Cartwright said.
Jack started his swimming journey aged three in Biloela before the family of six (three older brothers) moved to Gladstone in 2008.
There, he was under the guidance of then Gladiators' coach Caroline Hayes.
"She was very integral in his life and she told him to believe in himself,” Michelle said. "She was a mentor and a friend and sadly when she stepped down, Jack was desperate to get a coach.
"He got a scholarship at the end of 2013 and got an offer to complete years 11 and 12 at St Peters Lutheran School in Brisbane.”
His first big break came a year after the family moved to Brisbane where Jack made the Aussie junior team under the guidance of St Peters Western intermediate coach Dean Boxall.
"He did personal-best times at the Junior World Champs and Junior Commonwealth Games in 2015,” Cartwright said.
"That was the stepping stone to his ambition in making the senior Australian team.”