Story: Ashley Anderson
At just 16 years of age, Ashley Anderson has the world at his feet. For those who haven’t heard of Ash the Flash, Superfish Anderson, he is, quite simply, a swimming sensation. From the age of 10 Ashley showed potential and has been breaking Australian records for his age ever since.
Ashley is now competing in the Open World Cup, with events in Rio De Janeiro, Washington DC and Canada in 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
At the Olympic trials, Ashley came 12th in the 200m backstroke.
“It was a really tough field. I only made it to the semi-final, but it was an experience,” he says.
“I was just going there for experience. It was my first Olympic trial, so hopefully I will be on the plane to Athens in 2004.
And back in August, when Sydney was gearing up for the Olympic Games, Ashley was out winning gold for Australia in the 100m relay at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Edinburugh, becoming the first Aboriginal person to win a gold medal for the country in swimming.
“I was in the 4 X 100m freestyle relay and we won that by about 5 seconds. In the other two individual events, I got silver,” he says.
Ashley has an intense training schedule consisting of 10 sessions a week – that works out to about 36 hours a week. On top of his swimming responsibilities, Ashley also has to fit in school work.
“It can be very hard but I manage to juggle it. I am doing year 11 and 12 over three years, so that has given me the opportunity to manage school work and swimming.”
As an Ambassador for the National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy program, Ashley likes to pass on the message that it is possible to manage both sport and school.
The pressure of school did get to Ashley for a little while last year, resulting in him leaving the sport for a short period of time.
“It is difficult, but now I cope with it. I just take my time and be myself. When I am at school I am at school, and when I am swimming I am swimming. I don’t let swimming effect my school work, or school work effect my swimming.”
Ashley is looking forward to competing in the Sydney Olympics Youth Festival in January where he will compete in the 100m backstroke and is a member of the 4 X 100m medley team.
Ashley values his education and would like to pursue a career in the media as a sports commentator.