THE way 16-year-old Will Baker is cleaning up in the pool at the moment, the Jets Swim Club star will boast more gold than Cadia Valley.
The Blayney product picked up a combined total of 14 gold medals across the Queensland and New South Wales multi-class championships, scooping the pool in the S7 classification Baker dominates almost seamlessly.
It comes on the back of a recent National Youth Development squad camp in Canberra, where Baker underwent a range of testing to help improve his technique throughout the school holidays.
But not even he imagined the magnitude of his improvement.
On top of the 10 gold medals he bagged at the Queensland multi-class championships, Baker broke his national record in the 100m butterfly, setting the new mark at one minute and 32.83 seconds to shave over four seconds off his previous best.
“Had a pretty good meet really,” Baker said modestly.
“I was aiming to go under [the record] but I thought I was only going to go under it by a little bit.
“I didn’t expect to go anywhere near the time I went.”
Baker’s feat in Queensland set the bar high, at such a level it’s nigh on impossible to maintain.
And while four gold at the NSW multi-class championships just last week is nothing to sneeze at, it was an effort against a long standing record - a mark unmatched since 1993 - in the 200m freestyle which has Baker eyeing off bigger fish.
Baker missed out on setting a new benchmark time - swimming 3:12.11 to miss out by just two seconds - but posted a 19-second personal best, all in his first 200m freestyle swim in nearly two years.
Now, with the regional qualifiers in January, the Country Championships in Sydney in February and the State Open Championships and the National Age Championships in April, Baker is hoping to springboard his efforts in the pool to another level.
Baker is desperate to get a National Opens qualifying time - it’s the next big meet the young swimmer wants to crack.
The difficult bit is, Baker needs to start smashing all-time records for a 16-year-old to get into an open event.
At the moment when Baker swims, it’s him and the clock.
No one comes close.
However, when he reaches opens level, he’ll be swimming against seasoned athletes who have been up against race-hardened competition for years.
It’ll be a step up for Baker, no doubt.
But it’s one this determined 16-year-old will relish.
“The closest I am [to qualifying] is two-and-a-half seconds and the furthest I am away is one minute, in a 400 freestyle,” Baker said of his chances.
“But it’s pretty achievable.”
He’s hoping the progression of big meets at the start of 2013 will help him achieve his goal.
“I was talking to my coach the other day and he said there’s something that’s motivating me and there’s something that’s got me going,” he said.