By Hayley Wildes
There are amazing opportunities, and then there are once in a lifetime opportunities.
For Tooradin-raised swimmer Josh Beaver, competing at a Commonwealth Games on home soil is a once in a lifetime opportunity – one that has driven him to be the very best he could possibly be.
“That was something leading into the trials I had in the back of my mind and something that once I was selected, it was a feeling of ‘I’m finally going to compete at a home competition’.” Beaver said.
“I’m really just looking forward to stepping up behind the blocks knowing that I’ve got the support of my family, friends and coaching staff, as well as the whole of Australia behind me – I’m really looking forward to that moment.”
For Beaver – a backstroke specialist – it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. In 2012, Beaver missed out on Olympic selection by two tenths of a second. But instead of hanging his head, he used that disappointment as motivation to improve and reach new heights.
“That was a goal and dream that I had and I realised that I hadn’t quite reached it, which meant I had to re-set for another four years.” Beaver said.
“I really got back into it as soon as I could and I didn’t necessarily take a step back, I took a step forward in learning a lot of things from that disappointing moment.”
“I learnt a lot of things about myself and learnt a lot of things about the sport. What I wanted to do was not make the same mistakes I did that previous four years to allow me to make the 2016 Olympic team.”
Competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was a dream come true for Beaver – one that he still can’t quite put into words.
“The emotions behind it are really hard to explain.” Beaver said.
“It was a surreal feeling. I work in four year blocks and every moment of that four year block was aimed at that one moment of being selected onto the team and getting the opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics.”
Now with his sights firmly set on the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Beaver will take lessons learnt from his successful 2014 campaign – a campaign that saw him take home two silver medals and a bronze.
“I never really went into the 2014 Glasgow Games with an expectation and I’ve tried to not put an expectation on a home Commonwealth Games as well – that seemed to work for me in 2014, so there’s no reason why I can’t replicate what I did in 2014.” Beaver said.
“This time on the Gold Coast, obviously with the home crowd advantage and 12,000 people on your side, it’s going to be a pretty surreal feeling.”
Beaver will compete in the 200m backstroke at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which begins on April 4th.