He may only be 12 years old, but already ACG Parnell College’s Cameron (Cam) Karpik is making a splash.
The Year 8 swim star recently shattered two national age-group records and is on a fast track to success in New Zealand’s highly competitive world of swimming.
At this year’s Auckland Junior Open, he swam the 50-metre breaststroke in a lightning-fast 32.20 seconds – taking 0.27 seconds off the previous record, set in 2007. The following day he swam the 100-metre breaststroke in 1 minute 11.46 seconds, shaving 0.13 seconds off the prior New Zealand 12-year-old boys record, set in 2012.
“I am most proud of my breaststroke 50-metre record as it was the race where I was most ahead of my peers. Plus, I really enjoy the sprints,” says Cam, who has also achieved a string of other accolades this year, including Club Skins Champion (12-year-old boys), Inter Zones first place breaststroke (Year 8 boys), and first in the 50-metre breaststroke (Year 8 boys) at the Auckland Championships.
Breaststroke is clearly his superpower.
“I love every stroke – except plain, boring freestyle – and to get better at one stroke, you have to work on all four. But if I have to pick my favourite stroke, it’s definitely breaststroke as that’s the stroke I specialise in and train for.”
Currently swimming for United Swimming Club, Cam is in his element when he gets in the pool.
“To me, everything about competitive swimming is brilliant, but my favourite part is definitely the community and the friendly yet extremely competitive environment. The glorious feeling of lining up behind the blocks comes in a close second!”
With nine hours in the pool each week as well as dry land training, it’s a huge commitment that requires some considerable sacrifices.
“Swimming is an extremely challenging sport with the massive amount of training you must execute to improve. Waking up early in the morning is extremely irritating at times, but the feeling of ultimate despair if you add time on an event you’ve worked really hard on is depressing, so you just keep going.”
And luckily, he’s found plenty to keep him engaged and inspired.
“As well as implementing structured and disciplined exercise into a daily routine, swimming has opened up a whole new community to me.”
It’s a community he looks set to be a part of for many years to come.
“My next swimming goals are to work on my 200-metre breaststroke event and to bring down my other events to Australian record times (or a 1.06 for the 100 breaststroke). Then, in a couple of years’ time, I’d love to make it into the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the top section of the National Programme.”
ACG Parnell Sports Coordinator Steph Trowill is one of many supporters who are excited to see his progress, and she can’t wait to welcome him onto the ACG Parnell College swim team next year.
Say Steph, “We have a small but successful College swim team and are delighted that a number of strong swimmers will be joining us in the Middle School next year as this will further strengthen our position.
“I am especially excited for Cam to join the team and make his mark in the College scene at both a regional and national level in 2022 and beyond. He is an exceptional young man who is now starting to reap the rewards for all his hard work and dedication to swimming. Of course, there will always be room for improvement, but I have no doubt that he will continue to flourish and succeed with the attitude and determination he possesses.”