Described as the “backbone” of the Mildura Swimming Club and the greater Sunraysia swimming district, Josh Barila has been named Swimming Australia’s ‘Local Legend’ for May.
At just 18-years-old, Barila has already held multiple executive positions in the swimming community at both club and district level and has been instrumental in the growth and sustainability of the Mildura Swim Club over the past three years.
“The local swimming community in Mildura and the general district of Sunraysia means heaps to me. Swimming has been such a big part of my life and to be able to give back not only to my club Mildura Swim Club but all clubs in Sunraysia and coach the kids and progress the sport in the region which is why I’m doing all this,” Barila said.
Growing up on the Murray in Victoria – with temperatures reaching a scorching 45 degrees – Barila’s passion for swimming stemmed from his childhood.
“I started swimming from a very young age because we lived right on the river, from there my love of swimming grew,” Josh said.
"I would be the first one in the pool each session and have to be kicked out at the end because I wouldn’t get out.”
A passionate swimmer who loves to race, Barila has also created social media accounts for the club and Sunraysia district and maintains all pages – posting information, updates and results in addition to encouraging new members to join. It’s an amazing achievement considering the young gun is also studying year 12 and juggling all his responsibilities.
“I’ve had to cut down this season on the amount I’m doing around the club because of Year 12,” he said.
“I have continued training myself every morning, teaching kids to swim once a week and coaching the Mildura Swimming Club two nights a week. It leaves weekends and before and after work for doing homework.
“It’s definitely a difficult thing as I do so much for the club as in being Coach, Records Officer, Social Media Officer, Publicity Officer, Competition Secretary and whatever needs to be done, but I still somehow find time in all of this to be doing Year 12.”
Currently holding the role as Head Coach of the club, the talented youngster is always looking for ways to improve the facility and as such, has written and submitted a grant application for funding to secure new starting blocks for the Mildura Swimming Pool in order for Sunraysia District to meet infrastructure criteria to host the Victorian Country Long Course Championships.
With one eye to the future, Barila said he’d love to stay involved in the sport in some capacity.
“I’ll be heading to uni next year and will definitely be continuing with the coaching aspect of swimming, hopefully in the high-performance area. I am also interested in pursuing behind the scenes stuff such as organising meet and events, developing the sport or anything to do with swimming, as I generally do a lot of that locally now.”
Barila has been recognised for his outstanding commitment and subsequently won the 2018 Victorian VicSport Young Volunteer of the Year Award for his work and dedication.
Congratulations, Josh – you’re an invaluable member of your community and the country’s swimming tribe.