BY his own lofty standards, Isak Costello has had a slow start to his season.
But with the Australian titles approaching, the defending under-19 swim champion is starting to hit his stride - all the while with one eye on retaining his crown.
"It's getting to the point now where I'm starting to get my fitness back and starting to swim pretty quick so I guess it all depends what everyone else has done," he said.
The Redhead ironman broke through for his maiden Australian championship last season at North Kirra, and while he is again in the under-19 age, he says defending his title at this year's event in Perth will be no easy task.
"In my age group there is probably six of us who can win the swim and over in WA the conditions are pretty similar [to North Kirra]," he said.
"But we haven't had a big race where all of the other states have been at."
The first test for Costello will be the NSW championships starting on March 7.
While he will be looking to add more state titles to his collection, he says the event will be the perfect preparation for the Australian titles.
"Umina is basically the same as WA so it'll be good to see how everyone is going and hopefully build off my performance there."