Zac Reid - you gotta do it, you gotta love it
1 Aug 2017
“Swimming in an outdoor pool in the Bahamas is completely different from swimming in New Zealand. You breathe in the hot air and it saps your energy. Halfway through I started to feel cramp in my legs. It was terrible at the turns. The race became a tough mental battle.”
Zac Reid recalls of the pain endured during the 1500m freestyle final at the Junior Commonwealth Games recently.
Reid developed a healthy lead, but deteriorating strength in the legs and a stubborn Aussie challenger made life difficult.
“Despite the cramp I actually swam a similar time in the last half of the race, but the Aussie kept reducing the gap. Luckily my lead at the start was big enough to claim the win,” Reid admits.
“You gotta do it, you gotta love it,” Reid, from Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth, responds when asked to explain why he sacrifices a typical teenage life to commit to swimming. All the lonely hours of training aren’t a burden.
“I love working hard, having a focus and being fit and healthy. The lessons and disciplines of swimming can set you up for life,” Reid believes.
Swimming runs in the family, Zac’s father Byron Reid represented New Zealand at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.
Zac’s breakthrough success was in 2014 when he won three age group gold medals at the New Zealand Short Course championships. In 2016 he qualified for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii.
The Junior Commonwealth Games was Reid first major success outside of New Zealand and Australia and included a novelty triumph. Reid competed for New Zealand in the 4x200m mixed relay, his first relay ever.
“That was crazy because it was real strategic. You had to get the order of swimmers in your team right to have a chance. We decided to start with two boys to get a break on the field and luckily the girls Chelsey Edwards and Laticia Transom did a great job to bring it home. It was pretty nervous watching boys chase girls,” Reid reflects.
Reid swam the second leg for New Zealand after Lewis Clareburt led out.
Reid’s next goal is to be New Zealand’s leading 1500m swimmer. His personal best in short course (25m pool) is 15.22.44 while his long course (50m pool) PB is 15.36.82.
The next major meeting for Reid is the National Short Course Championships in Auckland in October followed by Commonwealth Games qualifying. Reid is grateful to have just secured sponsorship from the Engine swim team.
Reid also competes in surf live saving out of the Fitzroy club. In 2016 he represented New Zealand at the World Championships after being named Under 16 Champion Male Athlete at the 2016 NZ Surf Life Saving Championships, having won both the U16 Run Swim Run and the Surf Race.
In 2018, Reid plans to work in a water safety program run by his coach Sue Southgate and study extramurally at Massey University.
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