School Swimming Carnival – What a Location!

Dani’s school have their annual ‘swimming carnival’ this time of year. In the UK we would call it a swimming gala. The swimming carnival took place yesterday at the Drummoyne Swimming Centre. I urge you to look it up on google maps and zoom in an out to get the perspective. What a stunning location!

An Historic Location

This place is right on the Sydney Harbour waterfront. An Olympic sized pool that will have been used for countless swimming events and has featured heaps of famous swimmers. I am actually a little envious of the little boy. He gets to swim like an Olympic superstar.

Here are some views of the pool from the main road bridge and from the starting blocks side.

At the entrance there is a gallery of some of the high achieving past members/competitors of this  famous swimming club. One caught my eye immediately. In 1971 Shane Gould broke the world records for the 200 metre and 800 metre freestyle in this very pool. The following year she won three gold medals in the Munich Olympic games and broke the world record in each race. She was still only 15 years old. I remember her well because she was one of the stars of that games, which was the first Olympics I can really remember.

Read what else it says about Shane Gould. She truly was phenomenal.

The School Swim

Basically it runs like this. The event is a ‘house’ based competition. Everyone is expected to take part but not forced to. The school has three ‘houses’. they are named after the local beaches; Bondi, Bronte and Coogee. Dani is in the Coogee house. Every swimmer gets at least a point for taking part so every event counts as does every child. Before the day I thought that the younger kids would take part in only one event each. It turned out rather differently – read on…

Races and Results:

Much to my amazement they had even the youngest kids competing in all four swimming strokes.

First the ‘freestyle’ race. So called because you are free to swim it however you can. But as the aim is to win the race everyone chooses to swim what is referred to as ‘front crawl’, the fastest stroke. In this particular event I think the term freestyle meant exactly that. It was funny.  Young and free spirits thrashing about trying to attract sharks. Doing what the hell they want in the water with little thought for style and technique. Or so it appeared. But they are only young and their technique will get better. The older kids prove that – see below. Dani came in second to last.

This race was his first in a pool this size and I thought he was going to pass on it. But he was chatting to his friend Winston at the start. Winston is a year older than Dani and the chat was all one way. The reason became apparent once the race started. Winston was not a very good swimmer. But whenever he stopped to catch his breath Dani also stopped to check on him. Some mate eh? But at the end Winston beat Dani when he should not have.

Second, every age group did a backstroke race. Dani can do this stroke quite well but came in last. Awww… Never mind eh?

The third event was breaststroke. The last time I was in a pool with Dani he was quite good at this. He came in 6th – out of 8. So more points on the board.

Finally they actually had the kids doing butterfly! Blimey. Even I struggle with that one. Dani has never even tried it as far as I am aware. But he watched what the others were doing and gave it a go. Over a full length of an Olympic pool. God lad! He came somewhere close to last, if not last. Actually I think it was 6th. Out of 7 ! By the time Dani had finished there was a sudden downpour of rain. It passed and none of the kids seemed bothered. Half of them were already wet..

Overall Result?

Which house won the swimming carnival?
Coogee of course. Did you need to ask?
With the help of a few points earned by little Dani…

I was a little surprised to see that they made even the little ones do all the Olympic strokes. But as I said above it is no wonder Australia has won so many swimming medals over the years. Could Dani be joining the likes of Shane Gould on the wall of fame in the future? Not on the evidence of today. But that doesn’t mean I am not immensely proud of him for what he did. And before too long he will be beating his old dad…

The Older Kids

It is quite obvious why Australia produces so many swimming medal winners. With facilities like this one – and there are many around Sydney and every other city in the country – it is bound to happen. Judging by the quality of the swims by the older kids in just this one small school I can confidently predict the medal haul to continue.

Some of the 10 year old girls swimming butterfly looked like future Shane Goulds in the making. I was very impressed with their technique and speed at this most difficult of swimming strokes. The boys too. So you see Dani and his buddies will definitely improve over the years. I just hope they all keep it going.

A final word for the older kids who watched over the youngsters’ races and dived in to help and coach them along when needed. Fantastic stuff and wonderful to see.

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