Stroud Seal Raffa Francesci competes at the NSW State Open and University Games

Raffa Francesci competing in butterfly event. Photo supplied.
Raffa Francesci competing in butterfly event. Photo supplied.

It's pretty exciting to be able to watch your Olympic idols in action, but it's next level to be in the pool swimming next to them.

That's something Stroud Seals Swim Club member, Raffa Francesci got to experience when taking part in the combined NSW State Open and University Games in May at Sydney Olympic Park.

"I was racing some Olympians which was good practice," Raffa said.

"It really made me step it up a level."

According to Raffa, the swim meet was awash with Olympians as it was good practice in the a lead up to the world swimming trails in early June where swimmers compete for a spot in the Australian Dolphins Swim Team.

Raffa even got a chance to see one of his swimming idols, David Morgan compete.

"He swan the 200 metre butterfly in under two minutes which was amazing," Raffa explained.

"It was really good to watch him swim."

Raffa Francesci at the medal presentation ceremony for Combined High Schools in 100m butterfly race. Photo supplied

Raffa Francesci at the medal presentation ceremony for Combined High Schools in 100m butterfly race. Photo supplied

He may not have brought home a fist full of medals, but he smashed a few of his personal best times and has inched a little bit closer to his National time goal.

His events of choice are the 200 metre and 100 metre butterfly and the anything from the 50 metre to 200 metre in freestyle.

At the event, he shaved two seconds off his personal best 200m butterfly time, which means he's now only two seconds off the National qualifying time.

After taking it easy in the pool, only really training during the season, Raffa has decided to take it up all year round, hoping to train six to eight times at week at Raymond Terrace.

The 16-year-old only started swimming after competing in the Dungog Primary School swim carnival, making it to zone and regionals.

"I'm really late to swimming," Raffa said. "I started competing at 12 years old."

But he seems to have taken to it like a fish as he made his first State time that same year.