Central Coast swimmer Riley Moore will attend the Pathways to Paralympics camp on the Gold Coast this week after winning five gold medals at the Australian Para Swimming Titles in Adelaide in April.
Moore’s original dream was to compete professionally in water polo, having previously representing NSW since he was in his teens in both the Blues and the Waratahs.
But when COVID-19 lockdowns saw the closure of local pools and the cancellation of water polo events, he and his best friend took to swimming kilometres in the cold water at the Pearl Beach Ocean Pool.
It was then that Moore decided to look into competing at the Australian Para Swimming Titles.
“My coach had always told me about pursuing swimming and the competition, but I played water polo and I had wanted to play competitively since I was young,” he said.
“My original dream was also to go to the Olympics but then I found out about the Paralympics after my diagnosis of hereditary spastic paraplegia when I was nine.”
Moore said the second COVID lockdown saw him intensify his swimming training.
“For me, lockdown opened opportunities,” he said.
“I am really keen to have fun, get to race and learn at the camp this week.”
Moore studies Exercise and Sports Science at the Ourimbah Campus of the University of Newcastle and also teaches the next generation of swimmers in his role as a swim coach and lifeguard at Peninsula Leisure Centre.
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, said Moore, 19, was a “powerhouse” in the pool.
“He has so much ahead of him – something the Pathways to Para Olympics Camp scouters certainly saw too,” she said.
“It makes me so proud to see Peninsula locals reaching new heights on the Australian and potentially world stage.
“I am 100 per cent behind Riley in his pursuit of this dream and I am sure the rest of the Coast is too.
“Riley is such a positive spirit who has worked very hard despite the challenges he has faced. He is a great role model for our young athletes starting their journey and I can’t wait to see the impact he has on the next generation of athletes.”
Media release, May 4
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch