GIPPSLAND Grammar swimmer Teddy Ripper has been selected in the state schools team.
The 14-year-old, who is also a member of Sale Swimming Club, is currently in fine form, boasting a new-found level of determination to be the best swimmer he can.
Dropping more than 11 seconds off his 200 metre breaststroke at the 2021 Victorian Age Championships, Teddy swam 2:41:56 minutes to take the silver medal. His previous personal best time for this event was 2:53.14min.
At the same championships, he came third in the boys’ 13 years 100m breaststroke, stripping 1.11s to record another personal best swim.
The Year 8 student broke a 50m breaststroke at Gippsland Grammar’s swimming carnival earlier in the year. He swam it in 36.22s and secured the age champion medal too.
The previous school record was set by Chance Doultree with a time of 37.31s in 2016.
Teddy’s mum Miriam said swimming had always been part of his life.
“I was that mum, taking him to lessons once a week since he was six-months-old,” she said.
“He began swimming competitively when he was in Grade 3. He does have a love and passion for it.”
The national schools championships will be held in Brisbane in August, with Teddy hoping COVID won’t have an effect.
Swimming Victoria recently announced Teddy had qualified for its junior talents squad, providing integrated performance pathways for athlete success within the state and on the national and international stage.
Gippsland Grammar teacher Simone Langshaw is also a School Sport Victoria representative, and said she had enjoyed watching the youngster develop over the years.
“Teddy has become a very accomplished and competitive swimmer, building on his strength and skill set, and it is great to see,” she said.
“I am really excited for him. This opportunity is something he has been working towards for a couple of years.”
Langshaw has been appointed manager of the Victorian girls’ 13-19 year-old squad for the national championships, and basically began her swimming career at the same place Teddy did.
She too competed as an aged group swimmer with Sale Swimming Club, but her secondary school years were kick-started with sporting scholarships to Lauriston Girls’ School in Melbourne, and later Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in New Zealand, before she returned ‘home’ to finish Year 9 to 12 at Gippsland Grammar.
Langshaw went on to complete a sports science degree and then coach at Nunawading Swimming Club, helping develop every stage of swimming, from Learn to Swim through to Australian teams.
Langshaw co-ordinates the swimming program at Gippsland Grammar St Anne’s Campus.
In the lead up to the Australian school titles, training for the Gippsland Grammar student will ramp up to six to eight times a week.
The squad will gather once a month to build comradery and fine tune team techniques.
As part of the Victorian under 14 boys’ squad, Teddy could compete in any event including individual, medley and relay events, but he said he is “up for it”.
He was excited about representing his school and wearing the Victorian colours at the national championships.
“There is a lot of water to be swam … but it is perfectly reasonable to have big goals. The bonus is, at this level, people start to know who he is,” Miriam said.