York Mills’ Nicholas Poon is extremely modest when it comes to his prowess in the pool.
He’s been swimming since he was six years old, but admitted he didn’t take to water right away.
“I guess at first it wasn’t really my thing,” he said. “My parents pushed me to do swimming and then I never really liked it until I got older — maybe because I had more achievements in the sport.”
Competing in the 100-metre breaststroke, 100-metre individual medley and 50-metre freestyle, Poon knows what city medals he wants to podium for but accepts his opponents same pursuits.
“I’m definitely planning on winning at OFSAA,” he said. “But there are other competitors as well, so I’ll just try my best.”
Coach Rick Mahoney said Poon is pulling in times well under the OFSAA qualifying numbers and admires his student’s unassuming attitude.
“You don’t hear him talk about it. He’s not one of these guys who brags about his times,” Mahoney said. “He’s almost under the radar when it comes to his performance.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he should come up with at least three individual golds at the regional championship and then depending on how his relay team does, he could have a fourth in there as well.”
But Mahoney can’t take any credit for Poon’s abilities.
The swimming phenom switched from being an open competitor with J-Dolphins Swim Club to his high school swim team.
Under competitive swimming rules, Poon became eligible to swim with York Mills this year.
“The coach helped me and I finally got to go to the age group national, which is a pretty big meet for me because it’s swimming against the whole country,” Poon said of his previous experience. “It definitely helps me in my swimming. The techniques can last forever.”
Mahoney couldn’t be happier.
“While we keep an eye on them, we’ve basically left (the open swimmers) to their own devices in terms of their training and we’ve put some of our upper-level swimmers in with them,” he said. “They support each other along with the other swimmers on the team which is nice.”
Once Poon graduates he’s looking to pursue psychology at University of Waterloo. He’s unsure if or how swimming will factor in to his post-secondary pursuits or his other pastime, soccer.
“I’m more attached to soccer when it comes to playing the sport, but what I’m good at is swimming,” he said, adding the David Beckham’s signature style attracted him to soccer when he was 11.
Pool and pitch aside, Poon thanked his parents, Alan and Sinikka, as well as God for his strong athleticism.
“I guess it’s a gift for me because I’m not that good at school,” he said. “I guess the athletic side is what I’m proud about.”
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