BACK on the track, Cooper Smith has posted some impressive times and come away with two medals following the Oceania games in Townsville last week.
The 17-year-old 400 metre sprinter came second with a time of 49.8 seconds in the individual event and won gold with the U/18 Australian team in the four by 400 metre relay.
He ran 47.8 seconds in the relay, a highly competitive time that he put down to the near perfect, wind free conditions. This was below his PB of 48:49.
Cooper, who started out with the Wonthaggi Athletics groups, moved to Berwick two years ago to pursue his athletic potential.
Training 10 to 12 hours per week both in the gym and on the track Cooper is focussed primarily on speed endurance.
“To be running with power and not be affected by lactate is what we’re working on.”
Returning to Wonthaggi most weeks, Cooper enjoys the natural training opportunities the area presents.
“I come home most weeks to visit my girlfriend and my family.
“I’ll either go to the Shack Bay stairs or do some sand dune running while I’m home,” says the young athlete.
“I started out being trained by Raymond Slade and Steve Plumb from the Wonthaggi Little Athletics, they gave me some great direction.”
Though the athletic courses at Wonthaggi Secondary South Dudley campus and Bilson Street Primary are in peak conditions, Cooper would love to see an athletic track in the area.
“It would be really great if the Bass Coast area could have a proper athletics track.”
Cooper is now coached by Aidan Debernardi from Brighton.
He trains with a group of runners at Glen Huntley most days.
“It’s a really good group of guys to train with, we’re all working together and seeing some good results.”
Cooper has a few tips for people interested in athletic pursuits.
“It’s important to be having fun, have patience, it might take a season or a few years – stick at it and really work and anything’s possible,” says Cooper.
Championship relay record for Cooper