Brothers in demand
YAMBA brothers Dylan and Rory Brown are used to leading the pack in the pool, but never before have they been chased by such esteemed competition.
Three prestigious Queensland schools - Ipswich Boys Grammar, Brisbane Grammar and Anglican Church Grammar (Churchie) - have offered the swimming sensations scholarships.
The offers follow the brothers' gold rush at the NSW Combined High School State Swimming Championships and Dylan's 'monumental achievement' in winning a 100-metre breaststroke bronze medal at the Australian Age Championships.
Speaking to The Daily Examiner during a tour of Churchie this week, the boys' mother, Fay, said while the three schools were interested in both of her sons, she only expected Dylan to leave the family nest in the not-too-distant future.
“Rory is a bit too young, but Dylan is in year 10,” she said.
The Brown family has researched all three schools, with the East Brisbane-based Churchie firming as a clear favourite.
“It just felt really comfortable,” Fay said.
“They have a 25 and 50-metre pool, but they are ripping up the 25-metre and building a new one. “They are spending $17 million on their gym alone.”
Dylan may shrug his shoulders when asked about a potential move to Brisbane, but Fay said her son knew the opportunity to study and train with one of Brisbane's most recognised schools was rare.
“Dylan wants to do his Higher School Certificate down here, but he can see the benefits (of moving),” she said.
“It will be good for his training and they will fit his studies around his training.”
Dylan said any move north would not happen until he started his senior years.
“They wanted me to come up this year, to settle in before I start the senior years,” he said.
“Some (of the offers) are open to the end of the year and I've talked to some of the coaches.
“But I've considered it and I don't think I'm ready yet.”
Also on the horizon for Dylan is a possible place in the NSW Institute of Sport Emerging Athletes Program, with his Australian Age Championship bronze medal placing him in good stead to be named in the program.
The NSW Institute of Sport Emerging Athletes Program squad will be named in June.
Yamba head coach Richard Beresford said Dylan's performance in the 100-metre breaststroke showcased the young swimmer's immense potential.
“Medals at the nationals are like hens teeth ... they're hard to get,” he said. “It wasn't the event we thought he would medal, but he pulled out some personal bests and got the bronze in a time of 1:09.19.”
The level of competition at the Australian Championships was so intense, Beresford said Dylan's bronze medal performance was like 'winning gold at state'.
“You don't realise how tough the competition is,” he said.
“It's tough to qualify, it's tough to final and it's tough to get a medal.”
Dylan said all the preparation and all the training counted for little if you were not mentally prepared when you stepped onto the blocks.
“I train every morning in Yamba before school and travel to Grafton ever Tuesday and Thursday afternoon to train down there,” he said.
“You train as hard and as much as you can ... but racing is about 80 per cent mental strength.”
The Brown brothers train together each morning, with Dylan always keen to help his younger brother. That's not to say there isn't a bit of sibling rivalry.
“Sometimes I get frustrated with him at training,” Dylan said.
“I'll try to show him a stroke correction and sometimes he will listen and sometimes he won't.
“It's like I'm his older brother and what would I know."