Young Achievers: Joseph Blake

An occasional column featuring young achievers in our community.

This week we spoke to talented swimmer and surfer, Joseph Blake, who is training to compete in the Special Olympics regionals.
How old are you and what school do you go to?

I’m 16 years old in year 11 and now go to Rototuna Senior High School.

How often do you swim? Where do you train?

I train at Waterworld every week with the Special Olympics squad. Stuart is my coach. I am learning how to do tumbleturns for backstroke!

Tell me about how you got noticed to train for the Special Olympics?

I was placed first in intermediate boys 25m AWD freestyle and breaststroke for Waikato Secondary Schools and first in 50m AWD freestyle. Wendy Smith a Swimming NZ Education Adviser, spotted me and gave Mike Smith from Raglan Area School her business card saying get Joseph to call me if he’s interested!

What does training involve for you now?

Doing lengths of freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and practising tumble turns. Getting coaching ftom Stuart to improve my technique.

Do you have a goal with your swimming?

I’m preparing for my first Special Olympics Regional competition in Te Awamutu on 29 October 2017.

I hear you are also a good surfer. Tell me about how you learnt.

I learnt by spending time out in the surf. Doing Sea Dogs every week was fun and it was good to spend time with friends. Mr C and Matua Pete were really good surfers and teachers.  I also surf in my own time with my own Dad, winter and summer.

How often do you go surfing and who do you go with?

I go out surfing with whoever is passionate about surfing too, usually once a week.

How do you think young people get really good at something?

They use their own time to actually get better and improve to get really good at something. I do sometimes watch stuff about things I’m passionate about because then I learn what I could do and then I go and do it in my own time.

What other things do you like doing?

I like anything to do with nature. I like caving and am interested in underwater caves. I also like to bike places, see friends to do stuff for fun with them like watching movies and playing games with them, and try to create time to do fun things with my family like playing pool or going bowling.

What do you like about living in Raglan?

I like the people and making friends with them. I also like the surf and going to different view spots. I like going out to the beach to watch the sunset and people surfing.

This week’s Young Achievers column is sponsored by Ray White Raglan.