WHEN Col Pearse dives into the pool, his goal isn't always to beat his opposition, but sometimes himself.
At the recent Australian Short Course Swimming Championships held in Melbourne, the 16-year-old won a bronze medal in the Men 12 and Over 100 SC Metre Butterfly Multi-Class, although it wasn't his biggest achievement.
In the same race, Pearse set a new personal - adding to three he had set earlier in the competition.
Those results came in the 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley - taking off 2s, 3s and 5.94s in each event respectively.
"It's always a thrill when you beat your own time,” Pearse said.
"Winning those races wasn't always at the front of my mind because I was racing against some guys who are almost double my age.
"But that experience is something I'll never take for granted because you will always learn something different.
"Guys like Matt Levy have been to the Paralympics before so I want to follow in his footsteps. Seeing how he prepares for a race and the advice he gave me will help me moving forward."
Pearse was also involved in an Australian first as able bodied and para athletes competed alongside one another for the first time.
Swimmers were separated into four teams with two able bodied and para athletes on each side, swimming in a mixed 4x50 metre freestyle relay.
And it was a special moment for Pearse after he was named team captain.
"It certainly brought a little more pressure because you had to select the order of swimmers,” he said.
"Choosing who would swim where was actually difficult because the short course makes it difficult to judge a person's speed.
"But it was definitely an exciting experience and I hope we see more of it in the future, especially at long course meets."
Pearse will now turn his attention local meetings before national and international competitions in the early stages of next year.