AUSTRALIAN swimming legend Dawn Fraser had some words of encouragement for the kids of Swan Hills Swimming Club when she visited last week.
“Just keep swimming and you might make the Olympics, too,” she said.
Fraser (78) greeted delighted youngsters and parents at Swan Park Leisure Centre on Wednesday, one of many stops on her four-day tour of Perth.
The Swimming WA ambassador visited the club in an attempt to boost the 31-year-old club’s dwindling numbers.
Swimming WA performance and development manager Carolyn Morrison said the club was an important part of the local community.
“Local swimming clubs have the opportunity to be the hub of their community, particularly during the warmer months,” she said.
“We are working closely with Swan Hills Swimming Club to ensure they continue to thrive.
“To have an Australian legend like Dawn Fraser visit this club and take an interest in its volunteers and members is a huge feather in Swan Hills Swimming Club’s cap.”
Born and raised in Sydney, Fraser was the first person to win three consecutive gold medals in the same event at the Olympic Games.
She won the 100m freestyle in 1956, 1960 and 1964, and was the first woman to swim two laps in under a minute.
Fraser told swimmers and parents she was not as fit as she used to be, with a recent shoulder operation keeping her out of the pool.
“Who has asthma here?” she asked, to which a few children raised their arm. “I have it,” she told them. “Swimming is good for asthma, so keep at it.”
One swimmer asked Fraser if she would have started swimming as a child if she did not have the illness.
“That’s a very good question,” Fraser said. “Probably not.
“I loved horse riding and would have done that if it wasn’t so expensive.
“Lucky I chose swimming!”