TAKING ON THE BEST: Ben Armbruster hit the pools at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre where he took on an Olympic legend.
TAKING ON THE BEST: Ben Armbruster hit the pools at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre where he took on an Olympic legend. File

Ben goes toe-to-toe with Olympian

SWIMMING: His local pool might only be operational for half the year but it hasn't stopped Stanthorpe's Ben Armbruster from taking it to seasoned Olympians.

Earlier this morning Armbruster hit the pool at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre in the Hancock Prospecting World Swimming Trials.

He was only competing in the 100m backstroke, but that race pit him up against a two time Olympian and world record holder in Mitch Larkin.

Larkin once set a record as the first swimmer to win every backstroke event and also the most gold medals for a swimmer at a single Commonwealth Games event.

It was a surreal moment for the 17-year-old Stanthorpe boy to take on the 25-year-old 'Larkinator'.

"It was pretty cool. Even from the start just warming up was a good experience,” Ben said.

"I went out to the warm-up pool and was just pretty much surrounded by Olympians.

"It was very intimidating. Just to know I was sitting next to this Olympian in marshalling and to then go and race him was intimidating but such a good experience,” he said.

As expected, Larkin blitzed the race.

Mitch Larkin and the Australian Dolphins swim team gather for the media after their most successful Commonwealth Games. Pics Adam Head
Two-time Olympian Mitch Larkin. Adam Head

He beat Ben by a few seconds to qualify himself for the upcoming world titles in China.

Ben went in with no expectations and said he was simply using it as another chance to learn and grow as a swimmer.

"To know that's the level I'm trying to get at and I'm already at those trials... it's really good.”

With access to a local pool only six months of the year, Ben has been travelling to Warwick four mornings a week to prepare.

"Waking up at 5.30am, then an hour's drive, then training to then have to make the hour's drive back to go to school.

" It takes commitment,” he said.

He has that same routine every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

"It's well worth it.”

He said today's race was a proud moment for his parents and supporters.

"It was definitely a proud moment for mum to see me in the pool, her and dad.”

He'll continue his training, with the Queensland Schools Championships on the horizon, where he'll compete in no less than a 10-12 races.