Monash athlete Nicholas Layton says competing at the World Deaf Swimming Championships was an experience he’ll never forget, returning home with five medals around his neck.
Nick competed in last month’s Championships in Buenos Aires and was supported by Monash University through the Elite Student Performer Support Program.
He featured in five events against some of the world’s best: 50m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle, 4x100m Medley Relay and the 4x200m Freestyle Relay.
To medal in all five is an extraordinary achievement in its own right, but Nick, who celebrated his 21st birthday while at the Championships, also departed Argentina with a new Deaf World Short Course Record in the 50m Butterfly.
“The best thing I’ve got out of it was the friendships I made with people from around the world; whether they were swimmers, coaches, physiotherapists or spectators. I was very grateful for the love and support they all gave me during my two weeks in Argentina,” Nick says.
“We made some visits to the podium and I was happy especially with the 50m Butterfly after breaking the championship record in the preliminary swim.”
Nick also competed in Sydney during May for the UniSport Swimming Nationals, where he also came home with medals.
“The competition in Sydney was more mentally chill for me. We managed to smash out a PB and was glad that I contributed to the great team with gold medals,” he notes.
But for the performances in Argentina, Nick says there’s still more to come. He learnt to swim at the age of one and took it up competitively at 12 years old and now yearns for more opportunities to represent the green and gold.
“I want to keep improving and get better at swimming, hopefully we can put together greater performances later on,” Nick says.
“But for me personally, it (Argentina) was definitely one of my best experiences. Usually I judge how good the meet was based on how much I saw improvement in my races, and we did see decent drops in my PBs.
“To be representing Australia and to be coming back home with a championship record and five medals, it’s something I won’t forget.”
But competing at the top level doesn’t come easy. Nick spends hours upon hours in the pool each week training while also balancing a double degree in Mechanical Engineering (honours) and Industrial Design.
Nick is brave enough to admit he couldn’t do it alone, but draws on the support of those around him to keep going.
“I have much needed help. From everyone. Being in Monash University’s Elite Athlete Program has been great for me during my first year and I’m confident they’ll have my back” he says.
“The encouragement from my coaches and other swimmers I think really boosted my motivation to keep balancing my studies with swimming. Also to my family and friends, they understood the busy schedules that I sometimes had this year and they continue to stick by me which I’m really grateful for. I enjoy the subjects that I do for uni so that always help when you need to get things done!”
Nick’s attention is now turning to a World Championship meet in Tokyo that he’s been invited to in 2025, while the Australian Swimming Championships and Olympic trials will also both be held next year.