Olympic trials qualifying time among achievements

Kaiden Richings will remember 2020 as his breakout year, with the emerging swimming star making a splash in both the pool and open water.

Most recently, he excelled at the Hancock Prospecting Western Australian Swimming Championships in December, where he achieved Olympic trials and national qualifying times.

He had a fantastic meet, putting in impressive performances in a long list of events, including the men’s open 1500m Freestyle, where he earned bronze and an Olympic trials qualifying time.

At the Championships, Richings also won gold in the 16 years 400m Individual Medley (national qualifying time), 400m Freestyle (WA Country All Time Record and national qualifying time), 200m Butterfly, 800m Freestyle (national qualifying time), and 1500m Freestyle (WA Country All Time Record and national qualifying time). He also won bronze in the 16yrs 200m Backstroke.

The Dalyellup talent set the winning pace for what shaped up as a triumphant year in the ocean at the 2020 Australian Open Water Swimming National Championships where he earned two medals for his efforts.

He won second place in the 5km and third in the 7.5km, competing in the 16 years age category of the country’s pinnacle open water swimming event held at Adelaide’s Brighton Beach in January.

He has continued to deliver strong performances throughout the year, impressing at various rounds of the 11-event Open Water Swimming Series, an icon of the Western Australian sporting calendar that is the largest of its kind in Australia.

He finished first during the 7.5km event at Rockingham, came second in the 7.5km leg in Bunbury, second in the 4km race at Shorehaven Beach, and second in the 5km event at Mandurah.

The Manea Senior College student’s excellent form in the pool earned him selection to Swimming WA’s 2020 Swimming WA Country Team and the 2020/21 Performance Pathway Programme Squad. He also earned a position in the South West Academy of Sport’s Individual Athlete Support Program.

“This year was probably my breakout year, probably my best year,” Richings said.

Richings said there were unique challenges to both disciplines of swimming.

“When you are in the pool, there are lane ropes separating everyone so you have to try and swim you own race,” Richings said.

“In the open water, it is just a battle because everyone is all together. You just have to try and dictate the raced based on what everyone else does.”

Richings thanked SWAS for the support received through his scholarship, including having his pool membership paid for, being able to go to Maximum Results and participating in workshops.

“SWAS is really good. They really help me out,” Richings said.