Focus on... Roberto Pavoni
5am. For many this is a time that doesn’t exist for a normal teenager, yet the humble town of Brentwood has one individual for whom this has become a way of life; Roberto Pavoni. For this individual, the morning belongs to swimming. For this Olympic hopeful, swimming has become a symbiotic part of his life and with a Commonwealth Games in Delhi already under his belt; the world is at his feet.
Swimming since the age of six, his talent was immediately recognisable, breaking numerous records at St. Helens Junior School.
Needless to say, ‘Robbie’ was going places. As well as maintaining a steady schedule of intense training, his academic record throughout his school years was superb, showing not only his nous as an athlete but also as a scholar in preparation for the future.
Loughborough University was always my first choice because of the great sporting environment. In terms of swimming, it has the best squad in the country, and has done for as long as I can remember.
His early dominance within Essex Regional Championships meant a national championship beckoned at the age of 11. By the age of 15, Roberto was representing Britain at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Belgrade. His star continued to rise on the swimming circuit, with his determination never waning.
After swimming for three years in Brisbane at renowned training camps Couran Cove and Caloundra since he was 16, the young swimmer was Loughborough-bound by 2010 in preparation for London 2012, currently undertaking a degree in Sports and Exercise Science. Roberto says:
"Loughborough University was always my first choice because of the great sporting environment. In terms of swimming, it has the best squad in the country, and has done for as long as I can remember. The facilities are also one of the best of any University I have been to.
“The University has been great in helping me through my studies allowing me to swap lecture/lab times in order for me to fit my studies around my 10 training sessions a week and recently made it possible for me to sit my Semester 1 exams in Australia whilst I was away on a 5 week training camp."
On his success, Roberto is remarkably candid, taking everything in his stride: “the next step up for me is the World Championships, then followed by the Olympics and after over a decade of hard work it would be a dream come true for me to swim at London. If my plans fail, I like to think I will continue swimming in hope of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio”.
It’s a credit to this young athlete that his hunger for success is never-ending, always striving for marked progression in the competitive field of swimming.
When asked for what drives him towards glory, apart from his fantastic support from his family and friends, Roberto harkens back to a quote he saw in a gym in Singapore at a training camp: “never give up, because when darkness falls, the stars come out”. Roberto’s star is certainly rising, ready to fulfill his potential in the forthcoming Olympic Games and his bright future in competitive swimming.
Written by student Alexander Gowing.