For a top-level swimmer, South Esk’s Hugh Dolle is pretty good at athletics and basketball.
The Launceston Church Grammar student holds four state records – the short-course and long-course 50m and 100m freestyle – but is not one to keep all his eggs in one basket.
Earlier this year the 14-year-old was selected in a Basketball Tasmania state development program, and earlier this month he won hurdles and high jump events at the NSATIS carnival in Penguin.
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“I think I just like being competitive - I’ve always liked swimming but I think I like the competitive aspect more,” Dolle said.
“I want to be able to continue with swimming but I also want to continue with my other sports as well.”
Dolle has competed in the Victorian and Tasmanian age championships this year, but saved his best performance for Hobart’s national school championships in July.
As well as knocking off fellow-multisport talent James Curran’s 100m freestyle state record, he swam 25.74 in the 50m freestyle to strip national swimmer Beau Mannix of a Tasmanian benchmark that had stood for 24 years.
“He’s come along from an average club level swimmer,” South Esk head coach Ketrina Clarke said.
“His consistent attendance at training and keenness to improve has led him onto the pathway of progressing through our squad program, being inspired by getting better and watching some of our older swimmers achieve some really outstanding performances.
“We have Morgen Hawkins who made the final of the Australian championships for the Commonwealth Games trials and Kit De Jonge who’s an outstanding open swimmer, and I think they’ve inspired Hugh to want to get good enough to train with those swimmers which he’s now doing.”
Better still, Clarke says Dolle still has plenty of improvement left to go.
“He’s a good kid who’s always respectful and willing to listen to ‘what can I do to get better’ and that means from a coaching point of view, he’s a really good role model even though he’s only 14.”