COOL HEAD: Grafton High School swimmer Charlie Steele.
COOL HEAD: Grafton High School swimmer Charlie Steele. Contributed

Grafton's man of Steele plays heavy medal show

SWIMMING: Grafton High's superfish Charlie Steele showed his cool and calm demeanour at the Pacific School Games to return home with a haul of three medals.

The 18-year-old takes a social approach to his work behind the blocks, in an effort to clam his nerves, and it worked to perfection during the international competition in Adelaide.

He won silver in the 50m butterfly, and bronze in the 100m butterfly and 4x50m freestyle relay.

It was an impressive effort from Steele, who had to battle illness throughout his early heats in the pool.

"I had a bit of a break and I was coming out of the sickness when I was down there, but once I started getting over that I got a lot more confident,” Steele said.

"I was fastest qualifier in all my events from the All-Schools competition, and that put a fair bit more pressure on my shoulders; I'm not a fan of pressure.”

Steele brings a different approach to his events than most swimmers, being quite social in marshalling and before all events.

"I have so many friends just through swimming, and I love chatting and that before events. It calms me down,” he said. "But once I get behind the blocks, it's game time. It's like a switch gets flicked in my head.”

Steele has a process borne out of many training sessions with coach Al Paterson at the Grafton Swim Academy, where he visualises the race on replay in his head before taking his mark.

The idea is for the 18-year-old to get into a confident headspace, knowing he can achieve the result before putting it into practice.

And it is a technique that has garnered him plenty of success in the pool.

While he has nothing scheduled for the Summer months, Steele said he hopes to take on the Commonwealth Games trials in March with a hope to earn selection for the Australian swim team.

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