JOSH Alford is only days a way from the race of a lifetime. The Cooma swimming star is finalising his preparations in the lead up to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Josh will take his place amongst the world's elite swimmers when he lines up for his 200 metre multiclass S14 race. He enters the games ranked as the fourth fastest swimmer in his classification, and with a burning ambition for gold, the whole of Cooma will be cheering our local hope on.
Donna Saddler, the president of the Cooma Swimming Club, says her alarm clock is set for Josh's race, with the heats starting from 1.30am (AEST), on Saturday, July 26.
"It is exciting for a small town to have someone racing at this level, especially when we have an outdoor pool only used half the year," Mrs Saddler said.
"Josh will dominate, he has got the determination. The kids at the swimming club are looking forward to watching him, we all watched him at the Australian trials."
One lady who will be watching Josh's Commonwealth Games campaign is Michelle Thomas. Michelle is the club coach at the Cooma Swimming Club and coached Josh for a number of years.
"I started with him as a three-year-old, then saw him come through club and squad levels," Mrs Thomas said.
"In the last few years he has really blossomed, his commitment and dedication is definitely there."
Such is the influence Josh has had on the local swimming community, children are taking to the water in the hope of emulating the Cooma speedster.
One young swimmer hoping to follow in Josh's footsteps is Ronan Burke. Ronan attends Cooma Public School and is forging his own successful swimming career. He has an intellectually disability and idolises Josh.
"I love watching Josh swim and I love swimming also," Ronan said.
"I was cheering very loudly when Josh qualified [for the Commonwealth Games]."
Ronan is no stranger to the Cooma swimming pool, knocking over a staggering 122 laps for the YMCA Swimathon.
His mun Jacqui says Ronan was on an incentive deal with his coach, earning one dollar for every lap over of 20.
"When he got past 50 laps we thought we better stop the deal," Jacqui said.