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Cairns student Ike Martinez has been dominating the pool since hauling a mountain of medals at the Queensland Championships last year. We caught up with the local legend to gain an insight into his love for his sport. 

Tell us about when you first got into swimming?
When I was in Grade 6 in 2017, swimming became my main sport. I was 10 years old. Before that I was a competitive gymnast, but I’ve been doing swimming lessons since I was a baby. I love the adrenaline rush you get when you’re standing on the starting block waiting for the start signal. I love pushing myself to my absolute limit every time I race, making sure I leave absolutely nothing in the tank.

What have been some of your career highlights so far?
My first ever real big competition was Peninsula in 2019 where I received a gold, silver and bronze for the 200m, 100m and 50m butterfly events. This was when I realised that I really wanted to be a swimmer. Most recently I competed in the Queensland State Long Course Championships and received Queensland age champion for the 13 years boys. I received 5 gold, 1 silver and two bronze medals. 7 of the medals being individual medals. During the meet, I also broke 3 championship times for the 200m fly, 400m IM and the 200m IM. I have broken numerous FNQ swimming records for both long and short course. I’m currently 2 seconds off both the boys 13 year Australian and QLD 200m fly record. That’s my next goal and I’m working hard to achieve it. Music is also really important to me and last year I was awarded first place in the Cairns QLD Music Teachers Association Cairns and District Junior Bursary which I auditioned for. I also received Grade 7 Student of the Year at my school.

Who are some people you are inspired by?
Definitely one of my biggest inspirations is the one and only Michael Phelps. I have always been interested in watching his races ever since I started swimming competitively. Being able to watch his races gives me the opportunity to be able to set personal goals for myself. One of my favourite Michael Phelps quotes is “If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.” I am really lucky to have Duncan Todd as my coach. He understands my goals and knows exactly how to push me to reach them. He’s competed at the Olympic level and knows what it takes to get there. There are so many amazing swimmers that I train with every day at TAS Swim Club. Even on bad days they encourage me to push myself. Cairns and Far North Queensland have a great swimming community.

How often do you train?
My coach has recently given me the opportunity to swim seven times a week with one gym session. Before Queensland State Championships, I was training six swim sessions per week with one gym session. While that may seem like a lot, it’s actually not compared to what other swimmers commit to.

What has been the best advice you’ve ever received?
One Saturday morning my swim mates and I were in the middle of a set when Duncan stopped us.

He said, “It’s all in your mind, you just have to believe you can do it”.

This is most definitely the best advice I have been given. You can train your body endlessly, but if you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t.

What are your tips for juggling school and training?
When I started my first year of high school, I found it very difficult to manage my schedule. Music is also a big part of my life. Some days I train in the morning, head straight to school for music rehearsal, complete my school day and then head back to swimming training again in the afternoon. It teaches you to be very organised and use your free time wisely. I suggest being on top of things and getting them done as soon as possible. Never leaving things to the last minute. Talk to your teachers and let them know what you’ve got on. They will be more than willing to help you. They want you to succeed.

What would you say to kids who want to get into the sport?
Swimming is a great sport, and I love it. But it doesn’t have to be a sport where you have to compete at a high level. It is great for keeping fit and being social. We have the perfect climate for swimming. There are heaps of clubs all around Cairns. Find one that’s right for you and give it a go!


Written by Jules Steer