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Castlebar swimming ace Quinn happy to juggle sport and exams

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Pooling his resources


Trevor Quinn

Some people would complain or perhaps be irritable about facing in to a day which begins in a swimming pool at 6.45am, and very often ends trying to unlock a complex maths formula at 11pm, some 16 hours later.
However Castlebar student Nicholas Quinn is a unique young man. Quinn is a successful swimmer and a gifted academic. Last Tuesday he opened up his Leaving Certificate results and says he was ‘shocked’ and ‘delighted’ to discover that he had acquired a distinguished six As and one B.
But how difficult was it combining a prodigious swimming talent and the demands of the Leaving Cert?
“It was very difficult,” he says. “I’m not going to lie. I wouldn’t have been able to do as well as I did without the swimming. I felt I needed the swimming after a day in school and it really helped me to clear my head.”
Prior to the exams Quinn had an excruciatingly long day to contend with. After a ninety minute swim he would grab a bowl of cereal at 8.30am before departing for school in St Gerald’s College for class at 9.15am. After school another ninety minute session in the pool would be embraced, before returning home for dinner and three to four hours study. This could often bring him well past 11pm.
Quinn is now planning to study psychology in Edinburgh and he admits he is relishing the opportunity to sample the lifestyle changes that the third level experience will bring.
“I kind of felt I wanted to get out of Ireland and experience something different. Swimming was obviously a big consideration too. I wasn’t going to go anywhere where I couldn’t swim.
“I’ve been over there and I’ve had a good look around. I also trained with the university squad and I loved everything about it so it’s something I’m very much looking forward to,” Quinn adds.
Quinn has been mooted in some quarters as a possible Olympic athlete of the future but the 18-year-old says there is plenty of time for that. For the moment he is concentrating on his move over to Scotland and the development of his career both in the lecture theatre and the pool.
“I just put all that stuff out of my mind. I’d love to go to the 2016 Olympics but sport can be very fickle. You never know what might happen.”
While Quinn is refusing to look too far beyond the horizon his determination to achieve a superb Leaving Certificate and carve out a reputation in swimming bode very well for the future. “You never say never. It was always an ambition of mine to compete at the highest level possible. I’ve just turned 18 now though and most of the best swimmers in the world don’t reach their peak until 26 or 27.
“The teachers in St Gerald’s have been very good to me as has my coach Marion English. I would like to thank them. Without their support there’s no way I could have done any of this to be honest”.
During the next few months Quinn hopes to compete in the Irish Long Course National Swimming Championships and represent Edinburgh University in the British Nationals.
Before his big move the intelligent and ambitious young man plans to take a breather and relax for a few weeks before embarking on what will surely be a bright future.