Starting his swimming journey at age nine, Jack Gerrard has come a long way since his days growing up in Cairns, Queensland.
In 2010 at age 15, Jack left Far North Queensland and moved to Melbourne to focus on his swimming and education.
Fast forward to 2018 and Jack is now studying Medicine at Monash University, is Club Captain of Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club and has represented Australia on the international stage.
It has been a tough 24 months for Jack going from the high of a BRONZE medal at the 2016 World Short Course Championships to missing out on most of 2017 through injury which impacted his Commonwealth Games campaign.
Despite Juggling full-time study in Medicine and training, Jack was part of the Monash University swim team that went to the Gold Coast and competed in the National University Championships (NUC).
The Men’s team won the Division One Championship with Jack a big reason for their success.
“I was pretty stoked winning the overall men’s championship, because I know Monash hasn’t done it for a long time,” said Jack.
“Part of me going to National Uni Champs, was because I’ve taken gap years and I’ve had to move assessments time after time [due to my Swimming] and I wanted to go and represent the Uni and give something back.”
“More or less as a thank you for everything they’ve dealt with on my part, to come away as the winning men’s team was a bit of a job well done.”
Not too shabby… Oh who are we kidding, Jack was unreal!
Talking about his individual success Jack said “I wasn’t expecting too much going in, to be honest, so it was a bit of shock more than anything else.”
“I thought going in, maybe I could get a few medals and do the university proud, but after the first day, you sort of get a feel of how you’re going to race and where you’re at.”
“From there I realised I was swimming well and focused on doing my best each day. My results were definitely a pleasant surprise.”
A funny anecdote from Jack’s racing…
Disappointed he didn’t break the games record for the 200m freestyle the day before, Jack let officials know that he would go for it in the 400m the next day.
Jack blitzed the field over the first 200m and smashed the record before using the final 200m as a cool-down because of the short turnover between events.
It was truly remarkable to watch.
NUC was a chance for Jack to compete at a high-level, try some new things and take some risks.
He noted that he hadn’t swam in so many events at one competition since his junior days, but highlighted that he liked the change up.
Instead of preparing meticulously for a race, athletes are thrown in the deep-end and forced to adapt.
“I really enjoyed that the races were so close together… I did 5 races in one session and the sessions are only about an hour and 15 minutes,” said Jack.
“It just meant you would race and sometimes you’d get to go swim-down quickly and race again, or sometimes you’d just have to hop back out and have a couple minutes before you race [again].”
“But, I thought it was pretty cool, to be able to try and race as fast as you can race after race.”
All smiles for another gold medal at Nationals 2018.
When reflecting on his week Jack said that many of his races had someone who had made the Australian team, but noted that despite the tough competition, the meet was more relaxed than typical events.
“It was easier to focus on yourself and not be afraid to try different things, and given there was no prospect of selection for any team, the stakes weren’t as high. If you smash it in the first 100 and die, then at least you learn.”
Jack took away a lot of positives from the NUC meet, in particular his ability to race “back-to-back-to-back.”
The manner in which he swam also gave Jack a lot of confidence especially with the Australian Short Course Championships right around the corner.
The Australian Short Course Championships will be in late October and held in Melbourne for the first time in several years.
The Australian team will be selected from the Australian Championships, which are a precursor to the World Short Course Championships.
“Ideally, taking the form from NUC, I’d love to perform even better, make that team and represent Australia again.”
All of Monash is right behind you Jack as you take on the world! #monashpride
Written by: James Oana