TOM Berryman will hope to take his strong recent form in the pool with him to the Commonwealth Games trials on the Gold Coast this weekend.
Along with Port Macquarie club mate Mekayla Everingham, the two teenagers will have the chance to mix it with the best professional swimmers in the country.
Their qualifying times were good enough to allow them the opportunity to compete at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre from Wednesday.
Berryman will dive in on Saturday night (March 3) for the 50-metre backstroke, while Everingham will swim on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Berryman has no expectations of how he will go, but was looking forward to the experience although he did break James Magnussen’s 50-metre junior freestyle record last week.
“I’m hoping to go off and have a fun week away and get an experience of what it’s like to swim at an open meet with elite swimmers and get the vibe,” Berryman said.
“It’s not every day you possibly get to race against Olympians and it’ll be good to swim in the same pool they’ll be in for the Commonwealth Games.”
He knows swimming fast enough for a place on the team will be a challenge that is perhaps beyond him, but it’s all about the experience.
The Port Macquarie product tuned up for the Commonwealth Games selection trials with a strong performance at the country titles in Sydney last weekend.
It gave him an early indication of what life as a professional athlete would be like.
I’m hoping to go off and have a fun week away and get an experience of what it’s like to swim at an open meet with elite swimmers.Tom Berryman
“It’s a busy time of the season and it’ll probably kill me doing nine races over two days (in Sydney),” he said.
“But if you’re professional enough about it, it’s what you train for to recover and come back from a weekend away and do it again.
“There is no such thing as too much swimming, except maybe when you have homework.”
While it may be difficult to qualify for a Commonwealth Games trial final, Berryman wants to set a new personal best record.
“I’m going into the 50 back on a 27.2 which I did in Adelaide, so it’ll be nice to go a bit quicker; maybe 26.99 would be good,” he said.
“I’m feeling pretty good. Just going for the experience really.”