Barossa Swimming Club’s Jackson Docherty recently became a state champion in the 15 years 50 and 100-metre freestyle – not bad for someone who stumbled on the sport almost accidentally.
The 16-year-old Faith student first swam competitively at a year seven SAPSASA competition, finishing a modest fourth for state country.
He joined the Gawler Swim Club soon after, before moving to the Playford Aquatic Club, crowned state champion of the 200m in his first year and 100m in the second.
When Docherty heard Barossa was starting up a swimming club at Tanunda’s Rex last year he jumped at the chance to be closer to home.
“It’s a good culture (at Barossa Swimming Club) – everyone is friendly and when you race everyone cheers you on,” Docherty said.
“My coach (Tony Davis) is good, he (makes you) do what you need to do to get to your goals.”
At this year’s Long Course State Championships, Docherty finished with a gold in the 100-metre freestyle, breaking an 18-year-old SA Country record held by former Olympian Hayden Stoeckel.
He also won the 50m freestyle, smashing the SA Country record, and claimed bronze in the 200m freestyle and 50m breaststroke.
However, speaking frankly, Docherty said he was hoping for more.
“I was hoping to win the 50, 100 and 200 (metres freestyle) – the 200 was pretty tough,” he said.
“I want to make a national under 16 times – I was .4 seconds off 100 and 200 free national times.”
However, swimming will have to take the backseat in 2018, as Docherty is off to Prince Alfred College (PAC), in Adelaide, on a football scholarship.
I want to make a national under 16 times – I was .4 seconds off 100 and 200 free national times.Jackson Docherty
The talented all-rounder plays in Central District’s under 16s side, and also represented Northern Jets in under 12s cricket.
Docherty said he is looking forward to a new experience at PAC, but said he still hopes to swim when he gets a chance.
“When I found out (about PAC) I was pretty excited – I’m privileged to go to such a good school,” he said.
“I still want to swim, and I’ll still swim for Barossa at the country meetings, just not as intense.”
The Barossa Swimming Club is always on the lookout for new members.
For more information head to its Facebook page or pop into the Rex on Monday nights from 4pm.