Mack Horton visits Hamilton Island Primary School Posted by Gemma Christie - 18 November 2016 "Have you ever won a medal that had chocolate in the middle?" -- Charlie, Year 4 student at Hamilton Island State School. Australian Olympic gold medallist, Mack Horton replied with laughter saying his friends and family had given him chocolate medals as a joke when he qualified for the Rio Games. Fresh from his golden 400m freestyle swim at the Rio Olympic Games, Mack Horton travelled north to Great Barrier Reef island paradise in pursuit of another competition title. However the journey towards this finish line promised to be considerably more scenic. Mack runs into the water at Catseye Beach for the 2km Ocean Swim. Mack, his girlfriend Ella and coach, Craig Jackson signed up to take part in the latest Hamilton Island Endurance Series events; the Fujifilm Triathlon and Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim. While of course racing hard – Mack took out first place in the 2km Ocean Swim – Mack and Ella also took the chance to recover even harder after a strenuous Olympic schedule. The pair relaxed in Whitsunday Island resort bliss at the Beach Club Resort while also having some fun go kart racing and discovering the island on an ATV tour. Mack joked on instagram: "I've swum in worse places" In between racing and relaxing, Mack Horton graciously agreed to take the time to visit the Year 4, 5 and 6 students at Hamilton Island State School. The students were delighted to see Mack's Olympic gold medal and loved hearing stories of Mack's swimming journey from a young boy racing in local competitions to Olympic gold medal success. Alongside Charlies' golden chocolate medal question, students asked Mack, "Did you always know you would get to the Olympics?" Mack replied that he always loved swimming and training and became more competitive as he got older. It was then he realised that he wanted become an Olympian and see how fast he could swim. He never stopped learning, training and competing in pursuit of his goal. Students were thrilled to see a real Olympic gold medal. After sharing the morning with the students in the classroom, Mack made his way to a more familiar setting as he observed the school's weekly swimming program. Hamilton Island State School has a goal setting program that encourages students to set both long and short term goals. School staff were delighted when Mack explained that without setting goals and working towards them daily he would never have made it to the Olympics. Mack's dedication became even more inspiring as the students, some as young as five, were generously given the chance to hold Mack's gold medal. Mack and his coach Craig take the kids through a training session at the pool. Both the school and Hamilton Island are truly thankful for the time Mack took to generously encourage the students to work hard at achieving their goals. You never know – Charlie may just be receiving gold medals with and without chocolate in the middle one day! Mack's visit will no doubt be a highlight of the year and a memory for all the students and staff for years to come. Click here to learn more about the children at Hamilton Island State School and their love and thoughts on the future of the Great Barrier Reef. About the Author As Hamilton Island’s Communications Manager, Gemma is passionate about both writing and all things to do with Hamilton Island tropical island paradise. Sharing all the news, insights and interesting stories from the destination perfectly combines both loves. When not writing, Gemma can be found dancing for no reason, going out for breakfast, soaking up the beach or spending time with her family doing all of the above.