Ballina student eighth behind Grant Hackett
By RICHARD A FORBES, Star correspondent
SOUTHERN Cross K-12 School student Dean Mackay is emerging as one of the most promising young swimmers on the North Coast.
This year the Year 11 student, coached by Peter Charleton, has set records in school and zone age championships and has competed against Olympic great Grant Hackett.
At school swimming level, Dean was the 2005 North Coast regional age champion and named Swimmer of the Meet, taking the Tim Mullens Memorial Trophy.
He won gold in the 400m (record time), 200m and 100m freestyle, the 200m individual medley and the 100m butterfly. He took silver in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 50m freestyle and the 100m backstroke.
At the NSW CHS championships, Dean set records in winning the 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley, and also took silver in the open 800m and 200m age freestyle.
When the NSW All Schools Championships came up, he claimed silver in the open 1500m freestyle and bronze in the 200m freestyle and open 400m freestyle.
These achievements aren't too shabby for someone who started competitive swimming only in 2003.
Dean, 16, set nine records outside school in the 2004-05. He also won the Byron Bay Ocean Swim, was runner-up in the Dash for Cash in 2004 and won that event in 2005.
More recently, he competed in the Commonwealth Games trials, swimming against Grant Hackett in the 800m and 1500m freestyle.
He came eighth in both, but has not been put off by that.
"There's always next time," he said.