Yvonne Carmody, Bob Hope and Norma Scotney will be at the McNamara Sprints on Sunday 50 years after being club swimmers in the town.
Yvonne Carmody, Bob Hope and Norma Scotney will be at the McNamara Sprints on Sunday 50 years after being club swimmers in the town.

Golden oldies back

IT is 50 years since the then world's top swimmer Dawn Fraser was in Warwick training for the 1960 Olympics.

At that time, members of the Warwick Swimming Club got the chance to train with and compete in relays with the Olympians.

On Sunday, the Warwick Swimming Club is keen to look back on a golden era in Warwick swimming and has invited swimmers from that era to present some of the trophies at the annual McNamara Sprints and Darling Downs Short Course Championships which start at 9am at WIRAC.

This week, Bob Hope, Yvonne Carmody and Norma Scotney got together with two more recent club members Neil Meiklejohn and Kris Grayson to talk about old times in the run up to the sprints.

Hope, Carmody and Scotney were coached by Arthur Cusack, the lessee of the E.J. Portley Pool, in the early years after its opening in 1957.

That pool has now been superseded by WIRAC which was built on the same parcel of land as the former 55-yard pool.

As head coach of the Australian team at the time, Cusack trained squad members at Warwick in summer and Townsville in winter.

Carmody recalled being in a relay team with top Warwick swimmer David McMonagle against Olympians David Thiele and Dawn Fraser. Swimming legends, the Konrads siblings, John and Ilsa, were also in Warwick at the time.

Norma Scotney remembers the long arms of Thiele in the pool when he was training in backstroke.

“My dad Jack Lane donated the time clock for the pool,” Scotney said.

Hope recalls training two to three times a day in his school days, including some lunchtime sessions.

“We did nine miles (14km) a day but only five miles a day on Tuesday and Thursday,” he said.

Tumble turns weren't allowed in 1960.

Decades later, Kris Grayson remembers volunteering at Daily News holiday learn-to-swim classes and Neil Meiklejohn recalls the popular club mercantile relays and ice creams at the Wimpy at Amberley on the way home from carnivals.



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