Could the Mooloo Kid be our next Commonwealth Games star?
SWIMMING: Gympie's golden boy of swimming, Troy Carlson, has returned home laden with five gold and two silver medals from the Pacific School Games in Adelaide last week.
The talented James Nash High student and third generation Mooloo son, who looms at 190cm at the age of 15, said he reached his expectations of himself at the competition.
"I'm pretty happy. I was hoping I would win a few but I didn't really know,” he said.
The competition, which ran from December 4-10, was a whirlwind trip for the family, with Carlson taking the plunge into the pool dozens of times over the six days.
He returned to Gympie with five gold and two silver, as well as two Pacific School Games records to his name.
He claimed gold in the 50m Freestyle (24.06s), 100m Butterfly (57.12s), 4x50m Freestyle relay, 4x100m Freestyle relay, and 10x50m Freestyle mixed relay.
His silver hauls included 100m Freestyle (53.74s) and the 8x50m Freestyle All Age Relay.
The affable Carlson, who counts butterfly as his best discipline, said he was a little intimidated by the calibre of competition but let his swimming do the talking.
"You should have seen some of the other guys there,” he said.
"There was one guy who was six-foot-eight tall and 98kg and he was only 15.
"I beat him in the 50m freestyle though.”
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The teenager said his competitive edge was what drives him to do better in the pool.
"I want to be the best and beat the others, as well as my personal best, that's what drives me,” he said.
Thankfully, Carlson has remained largely injury free, however he said he had to overcome some serious growth pains, which would have been significant given his towering height.
"Growing pains have been tough but they have probably eased off over the last 12 months,” he said.
"But I had some really bad pain in my knees, arms and shoulders.
"The knees were really bad.”
Carlson has been training in Eumundi for the last few years but is now planning to step things up in order to progress, with a move to the new swimming facility at Sunshine Coast Grammar, Forest Glen.
His father, Mark Carlson, said it was the natural progression of things and the family was prepared to make the trip to cater for Troy's eight sessions a week.
"He has had one session there and enjoyed it,” he said.
"He has outgrown where he is now, so it's time to step it up.”
"The coach seemed very motivated,” the younger Carlson added.
"I'd like to make the Olympics, that's the top one, so I want to work towards that.”
Talk of possibly making the 2018 Commonwealth Games was on the table, but Carlson said he was not thinking about it at this early stage.
"Those qualifying times are very fast,” he said.
"I don't think I'm ready for that just yet.”