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January 9, 2005

Prosser possesses ocean of talent

From: The Age, Australia - Jan 9, 2005

By Stathi Paxinos
January 9, 2005

Scott Prosser is more at home in the wide expanses of ocean swimming than the confines of a 50-metre pool. Unlike his brother Cameron, who is rising through the ranks of still-water swimming, he finds the repetition of following the black line on the floor of the pool quite tedious.

But the 23-year-old, who came third in Lorne's Pier to Pub in 2003, reaped the reward of putting aside his instincts when he won gold in the 100 metres butterfly in a world deaf record time of 57.58 seconds and silver in his less-preferred 400 metres freestyle in the Deaflympics at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre last night.

It was a great performance by Prosser on the opening night of the swimming competition as he had gone into the 400 freestyle, which was won by Sydney Olympic 200 breaststroke silver medallist Terence Parkin in a time of four minutes 7.46 seconds, with the game plan of holding something back for the later race. But when he touched the wall in 4:09.10, he had topped his best time by 10 seconds.

Prosser, who prefers the 200 butterfly, was even more impressive in the 100 butterfly as he powered over the top of the opposition in the final 20 metres.

It was Australia's second gold of the Deaflympics after cyclist Reece-Emerson van Beek yesterday won the 32-kilometre individual time-trial, held along Ballarat's Avenue of Honour. Van Beek won in 43 minutes 52 seconds, from Germany's Gerald Mielke-Weyel and Frantisek Kocourek of the Czech Republic.

Prosser, who began swimming competitively about seven years ago, said his focus in recent years had shifted towards ocean racing and ironman events.

He competed in a trial camp at Coffs Harbour last year to earn a spot in the elite ironman competition. Although his board skills let him down, he was confident he was not too far off the mark. "I do enjoy ocean swimming a little bit more. It's different, rather than swimming up and down a black line and I've just got a bit more natural feel for it," Prosser said.

He will be competing in the 200 butterfly, 100, 200 and 1500 freestyle - with the 200 and 1500 on the same day - and three relays. He will then return to the ocean next weekend, when he swims in a one-kilometre race off the Torquay front beach. "Every chance you get to represent your country, you've got to grab it with both hands," Prosser said.

Prosser's coach Peter Carswell, who also handles Cameron Prosser and Athens Olympian Patrick Murphy, said the Victorian's talent was more suited to the surf. "I think (Scott) has the potential to be a very good still-water swimmer, but his love is surf and open-water swimming, so I'm happy for him to go in that direction," Carswell said. "Scott's brother is very strong and lean, and he just doesn't handle the surf as well as Scott does. Scott's got a very strong stroke."

Carswell said the standard of swimming during the Deaflympics meeting was competitive.

"There's some very good swimming. I would say it is probably like a semi-final at a national open level, which is pretty high."

Copyright © 2005. The Age Company Ltd.