Our 'Mikey' makes waves at national swimming meet
SWIMMING: Michael Whitby is living proof that no challenge is too great with the right attitude.
At just 12, Michael made the Queensland swimming team and competed at the 2019 School Sport National Swimming Championships in Melbourne for the first time.
Competing in his pet stroke, backstroke, Michael placed fifth in the country.
But it's not just his skills in the pool that make Michael special.
Michael was born profoundly deaf, and has had cochlear implants from four months old.
Michael and his coach Kelly Smith use a Bluetooth device that connects a microphone to his implants, allowing Michael to train.
"He comes from Cecil Plains... Monday through Thursday and we only get an hour in the water,” Smith said.
"For a little fellow that's only getting an hour in the pool four times a week, what he's achieved is pretty good.
"He just joins in with the rest of the squad so he hasn't been training specifically in backstroke. He's a natural swimmer. He has a natural body position, and he just loves it.”
Despite training in a 25m pool, Michael was still required to compete in a 50m pool at nationals.
But the only thing that worried him was the water was a little cold.
Michael's dad, Rob Whitby, said he couldn't help but have a few nerves watching Michael step up to the blocks.
"I was nervous, I think I might have been more nervous than him,” he said.
"He told me he was nervous. It's a big stage for him and I knew there would be a lot of people watching him. I wasn't so much nervous for how he would swim, I knew he'd swim well, just nervous for him on a personal level.”
Beyond the outstanding results in the swimming pool, he is a humble and grateful kid - described simply as "a joy to work with”.
"There's just zero ego about him. He's just such a great kid,” Smith said.
"He's like that every where he goes,” Whitby said.
"He's got a great heart on him.”