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Remembering Matthew "Gluey" Glucina

Australian Swimmers Association - 20/01/2014

The Australian swimming community was deeply saddened of the passing of Matthew Glucina, Gluey to his mates. Friend and training partner Michael Jackson took the time to try put into words just how special a guy he was.

Image (c) Swimming Australia

The first time I can remember Matthew Glucina, or more affectionately “Gluey” as he was known in the swimming world, was at a Thornlie swimming club meet, where he proceeded to win every race he went in. I stood in awe at the end of the pool while this giant of an 11-year-old tore down the pool to street the field in a 50m freestyle. I suppose being such a giant at 11 years of age helped him, but he had to be a big guy to fit in everything that gluey was. Gluey had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. Such a kind, caring gentle giant who would so often put others before himself. His selflessness was unmatched and if you were ever going through a tough time or even just one of those rubbish training sessions, you knew gluey would be right next to you picking you up and getting you back on the horse. In the pool Gluey was a fierce competitor, winning many state championships as a young kid, right through to matching it with the best at open national level, yet being such a remarkable athlete was just a small part of Gluey. He graduated high school with a TER of 99.99 (the highest you can achieve), and went on to study constitutional law at university. I’m not sure how he did it but he managed to juggle study, training and a busy social life all at the same time. After he completed his law degree Gluey refocused on swimming and put work on the back burner.

After returning to the pool he managed to keep improving and raced at the recent Olympic trials. Gluey was forever in pursuit of justice, once writing a letter to Peters Icecream to let them know that their number and distribution of freddo heads in the freddo icecream cake they produce was uneven and hence not fair. A man who was not afraid to stand up for what’s right, but I don’t recall Gluey ever doing anything in anger or spite, he always had a smile on his face and I’ll never forget the little chuckle he would do to himself. He was a very community based man and went above and beyond for city of Perth swimming club.

From being a role model for the young kids, being MC for the city of Perth classic swim meet to playing Santa at the city of Perth wind-up, gluey was always there whenever a hand was needed which again showed his incredible selfless nature. I was taken back by how many people turned out to honour gluey at his funeral. There were so many people from the swimming fraternity there, many that I knew, many that I have met along the way and many that I had not met. Yet the swimming fraternity were dwarfed by family, friends, work colleagues and people he had met along the way.

I guess it’s a true testament to the man to have touched so many people’s lives in such a short space of time. Something that long-time friend Travis Nederpelt said rang so true with me. “There are so many cliché’s that would describe gluey but they just wouldn’t do him justice, In saying that Gluey was the best guy I knew”. And he was. He had it all, an athletic scholar with a competitive yet kind and selfless nature, an unmatchable drive and ambition to succeed but also to enjoy life with friends and family around him. The world is definitely smaller and sadder without him and he will be missed by many.

My thoughts are with Ivan, Alice, Andrew, Family and friends. We will all miss you big guy.

By Michael Jackson
Vale for Matthew Glucina

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