Hawera teenager has small goals and big dreams for swimming future
18 Feb 2017
A 15-year-old swimmer has achieved a Hawera-first after successfully swimming in the New Zealand Zonal Championships.
Steven Wereta, who has only been swimming competitively for the past four years, was selected for the Aquaknights team, made up of the best swimmers from the Taranaki, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay zone.
Steven, who is best at the 200-metre butterfly, is the first swimmer from Hawera Swimming Club to make the Aquaknights team of 40 - 10 male and female, junior and senior swimmers.
"In certain events you have to be top two in your area," Steven said.
Steven's mother, Megan Wereta, was proud that he had stayed loyal to Hawera.
"A lot of people move on to Stratford and New Plymouth," she said. "It's hard to train with a small group, to do it solely, because he's got no one to really push him in training."
The championships were televised on Sky Sport on February 11 and Megan feared how hard the commentators may be on Steven.
"I was sitting there like, 'I'm going to be sick if they run him down'," she said.
But to the Weretas joy, they didn't fault him.
"He did the best dive in and he touched the 50 metres first place, so they were talking about him and mentioned the Aquaknights and then it came Taranaki and then Hawera," Megan said. "They started talking about the fact that some swimmers like Steven who aren't known at this type of event, when they hang out with the other people, put everything in, their heart and their soul."
Steven said small goals have always been the key for him, but like any athlete, his dreams were big.
"Since I've made this Aquaknight team, it's really got me to want more," he said. "I really want to try and push for the massive teams and go away to big meets. And the Olympics. You can't really say much about that yet, but that's a massive goal."
Steven admitted he's the "wee boy" compared to everyone else he will be swimming against this year.
His mother agreed. "He's tiny in stature, but not in heart."
Steven was one of the eight Taranaki swimmers who made the Aquaknights this year.