INTENSE POOL THERAPY
By STEVE SPINKS
FORMER Ballina Indoor swimmer Jono Newton is using today's FINA World Cup Shortcourse event in Sydney as warm-up for a hectic month of competition.
Newton, who now swims for the Sydney University club, will travel to Brazil for another World Cup event on November 23-25 and then head to Atlanta for the US National Championships.
Following the two intense meetings, the 26-year-old will join his Sydney University club at a training camp in Hawaii.
Newton will compete in the 50m freestyle and the 50m butterfly in today's meet at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
"It should be a good meet," Newton said. "I'm in pretty heavy work at the moment so I'm not expecting to go too quick. "But there is prizemoney, which is always a good motivation."
In a sport devoid of cash unless you are in the top bracket of competitors, Newton has often toiled for little reward. After starting under Stan Tilley at Ballina Indoor, Newton never swam at national titles despite being one of the quickest competitors in Australia.
Instead an offer came to attend university in the United States.
"I left town at 19 and moved to Iowa State," the former Ballina High School student said.
"But their swim team was cut from the schedule so I joined the Southern Methodist College in Dallas, Texas."
Unfortunately, Newton failed to really shine in the US. He was made to complete up to 80km per week in the pool, despite the fact Newton was a freestyle sprint specialist over 50m and 100m.
On his return to Australia in 2003 Newton moved to Sydney to join his parents, Gerrard and Sue.
"Luckily they left a forwarding address," he chuckled. "I transferred my course to Sydney Uni and finished a Bachelor of Science, and I'm doing a post graduate course in finance and investments."
It's the best move he made. Sydney Uni head coach Steve Alderman and Newton have worked out a training regime that allows Newton to spend a minimal amount of time in the water.
It's become even more imperative now that the sprinter has started a job with international newsagency Reuters. And it's working.
Earlier this year Newton won a silver medal at the World University Games with a sizzling time of 22.33s for the 50m freestyle.
That time ranked him as the fifth fastest Australian of all time behind Eamon Sullivan, Ashley Callus, Brett Hawke and Michael Klim.
In August, Newton backed up that time with a solid 21.70s to claim a bronze medal at the Australian Shortcourse Championships.
It's Newton's aim to make the Beijing Olympics squad and he knows he will have to swim under 22 seconds. The next month should provide an indication as to whether he will do that.