Duncan Armstrong visits Warwick
WAKING early and rising with the sparrows to swim laps above the white line on the bottom of a Southern Downs’ pool is a routine swimmers know only too well, and swimming legend Duncan Armstrong came to Warwick on the weekend to witness this dedication for himself and to find the next big thing.
“Australian swimming is in a bit of a trough at the moment as we’ve had a lot of retirements so I’m here to get a fresh country view,” Armstrong said.
“Sixty per cent of elite swimmers start off in the country so places like Warwick are very important to the Australian team.
“The next Grant Hackett or Ian Thorpe could be in this pool.”
The Olympic and Commonwealth gold medallist spent some of his Saturday visit at Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre (WIRAC) speaking with Southern Downs’ parents while he cradled his sleeping daughter.
“All I have to do is start talking about myself and conk, they’re gone,” the father-of-three said, laughing.
One concern parents raised was the balancing act of fostering their children’s talents with allowing them time to simply be kids.
“I can answer these questions from a parent’s point of view and you have to let them dictate their pace,” he said.
It was revealed during the visit that Southern Downs Regional Councillor, and former Warwick swimming champion, Neil Meiklejohn had previously raced Armstrong during his career in the water.
“He was up there, he was the benchmark,” Cr Meiklejohn said.
Armstrong also revealed another local connection during his visit.
“My Aunty Ellie works here (at WIRAC); my wife’s Aunt Ellie Kelso,” he said.
The personable champ made the trip from Brisbane to train Warwick and Stanthorpe swimmers, sign autographs for eager fans ... and munch on a pig-in-a-blanket.