It would be almost impossible not to notice that Australia, a country with a relatively low population, usually does extraordinary well in swimming competitions on the global stage. At the time of writing, apparently 58 of Australia’s 143 Olympic gold medals came from swimming events.
So, why are Australians such good swimmers?
Here are a few ideas I came up with:
- The hot weather makes going for a swim a very attractive pastime
- Maybe it’s that nearly 12% of Australian houses have pools in the garden
- Perhaps it’s the practice we get in the sea when being chased by a shark
- Or it could just be a byproduct of having something like 7000 beaches over 26,735 kilometres of coastline
I’m sure these things help but there is one other ingredient that I’m convinced comes in very handy; the facilities.
The Sleeman Centre
Elizabeth was privileged to be picked to represent her school in a swimming competition last Friday and along with the other members of the team, she took part in two relay races. One was freestyle and the other doing the butterfly.
Mrs Bob took her to this event and when she got there she phoned me to tell me that the facilities were simply stunning. In her own words, she said it took her breath away.
The Sleeman Centre, which is in Chandler east of Brisbane, isn’t just a swimming pool, it’s a sports complex which includes a BMX Supercross track, a 1500 seat theatre, a gymnasium, a 2700 seat indoor arena, a velodrome, gardens, a weightlifting centre, a fitness centre and a dry diving training hall, whatever dry diving is.
So it’s a big place, here are some photographs of the pool. Check this out…
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that this sporting complex was purpose-built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games. And now my little girl has swum in the same place as those champions, here she is doing the butterfly…
37 schools took part in these races and the event was unusual inasmuch as it took place in the evening and did not finish until 10 o’clock. Unusual because, as you know from my post called Good Morning Brisbane! Early Risers in Australia, these sort of things usually start really early in the morning.
This event though started at 6:30 PM, although competitors needed to arrive by 5:30 PM. With that 10 o’clock finish, by the time Elizabeth and Mrs Bob got back, it was just after 10:30 PM. For some kids who had driven all the way from Toowoomba (125 kilometres west of Brisbane), they would not have got home until about midnight.
Hopefully none of them had a netball game starting at 8 AM the next morning.
Elizabeth’s school team may have come second from last in one of their heats and last in the other, but it didn’t stop them having a great time anyway. Even Elizabeth was blown away by the venue, she said she was just thrilled at having the chance to swim there.
Let’s hope the crowd had a good time as well…