By Jess Baker
Former Stanthorpe resident Ben Armbruster has come away from the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships with an impressive collection of gold, silver and bronze medals, making his mark just in time for the Tokyo Olympic trials.
Competing in five events over five days, from Wednesday 14 April to Sunday 18 April, the 18-year-old won a gold medal in 50 metres butterfly and in 50 metres backstroke, a silver medal in 100 metres butterfly and a bronze medal in 50 metres freestyle in the 18 to 19-year-old finals.
“I did pretty well,” said Ben.
“I try not to expect too much of myself, so when I go into a competition I just try to do a personal best.
“There was a bit of pressure for this competition but I got a couple of personal bests so I’m happy.”
Four medals of five swims is an extraordinary achievement for any swimmer, but particularly so for Ben who comes from a town with a pool that is only open five months of the year.
Having only relocated to the Sunshine Coast two months ago to swim with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Spartans, Ben said he is still settling into his new training regime.
“Training is a lot more intense here and the sessions are much bigger,” he said.
“But there are people to train with all the time. Everyone’s quite competitive.”
In leaving his former club, Stanthorpe Swimming Club, Ben has also left behind his former coach of 14 years, Gail Smail.
He said he is still adapting to his new life at the Sunshine Coast, and having access to a pool year-round, but he has enjoyed throwing himself into the deep end with training – so to speak.
“My current coach is very clear with what he expects out of you,” said Ben.
“The Olympic trials are coming up in 50 days … I’m training every morning, about 10 to 11 times a week.”
But Ben said that while he hopes to do well at the Tokyo 2021 trials in June, his main focus is on bettering his own achievements.
“Whatever happens at these trials, I’m not worried. I’m just aiming to improve,” he said.
With two personal bests at his second ever national championships, not to mention four medals, further success is surely still to come.