FIGHTING FIT: Murray Chapman, 55, said he was met with some challenges on the Gold Coast. But the training program he did under coach Tom Fronek, put him in good stead.
FIGHTING FIT: Murray Chapman, 55, said he was met with some challenges on the Gold Coast. But the training program he did under coach Tom Fronek, put him in good stead. Matt Taylor GLA111118SWIM

LISTEN: Chapman delivers the goods on the Gold Coast

SWIMMING: A carbohydrate diet of a fruit salad and a couple beers was the secret recipe for success for Gladstone athlete Murray Chapman.

The 55-year-old has returned home with a gold medal from the 5km ocean swim and silver in the 1500m and 400m freestyle respectively at the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast.

"It was all pretty stressful and I haven't done the 1500m or the 400m before and that was all new, the pool swim, so that was all stressful in itself trying to sort out how to do them," Chapman said.

He came without any real expectations, but the training he has done under astute and respected Gladstone Gladiators head coach Tom Fronek, paid due dividends.

"Without a doubt," he said of his exceeded expectations.

"I think that Tom was trying to 'gee' me up a little bit, saying that I've done the work and to get in there and give it a go.

"I suppose that was the game-plan and in a nutshell it sort of paid off."

Preparations began at the start of the year with a program designed by Fronek entailing building up aerobic fitness and "just to learn how to swim".

"It's been a long journey and we still haven't finished because we still got Rottnest Island early next year," Chapman said.

While Chapman was unsure of the number of competitors in the 5km race, he said he was so focused that at the end of the race he was not sure where he finished or in what time he completed it in.

"I got a text to say that I had won it in my division, which is great," he said.

When asked what age category he competed the longest race in, Chapman laughed.

"20 to 21 years," he said.

"No, only joking, I was in the 55-59."

Chapman described both the 1500m and 400m challenges as gruelling and said he had nothing but respect for the elite swimmers in the 1500m.

"I think some masochist bloody invented that distance and that was horrible, but good afterwards," he said.

A fast start and getting into a rhythm was the key for the 5km race as well as overcoming mental and physical barriers.

"It's all a head game and you're fighting against yourself and it's just downright horrible, but it's good and you suck it in and do a bit of soul-searching," he said of the 1500m.

He described the 400m as more of a technical race, where a fast start is essential before coming home strong after a "resting stage" at the middle distance of the race.



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