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Australian Swimmers Association - 30/01/2014

Our sport is steeped in History, ASA Executive Member Alice Tait takes a look back and shares where you can go to find out more.

Image (c) Swimming Australia

Get to know our Sporting History.... By Alice Tait 

What do you think it feels like to swim for your country?  Stop and picture yourself doing just that… donning your Gold Team Australia cap, wearing your southern cross emblazoned tracksuit and becoming a member of a prestigious club of committed, determined and goal driven individuals, all of who genuinely love the sport of swimming.  Sounds pretty fantastic to me! 

Swimming Australia agrees, and over recent years they have implemented the presentation of numbered pins to each person who has swum for Australia since our first representation at international competition way back in 1900.  It is a true honor to receive your representative pin.  An item that cements your place in Australian sporting history that solely belongs to you. 

Over the past 114 years, 739 Aussies have made their way on to a senior Australian team and been awarded with their pin.  Most of you probably went to schools with more students than that!  It’s a very small number, an average of only 6-7 people per year.  Many of you dream of the day your name appears on this honor roll and make decisions and take action toward reaching this goal on a daily basis.  Part of this action should be looking back upon those who have come before you, acknowledging the success they achieved and the influence they had on the sport you love.  So, I thought I would give you a helping hand…. Here is a random selection a five Aussies who have done what you still dream of:

Number 1 – Fred Lane

Our first ever Olympic Swimmer.  Fred Lane won 2 Gold medals at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. 

Number 162 – Belinda Woosley

At 16 years of age, Belinda Woosley made her Australian team debut at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Number 298 – Justin Lemberg

Justin set an Australian Record to claim the Bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.  He was also the 1985 Pan Pacific Champion in the same event.

Number 374 – Linley Frame

Linley Frame reached the pinnacle of the sport in 1991 when she claimed the World Championship title in the 100m Breaststroke.  23 years later, she is still competing at state and national level events!

Number 508 – Jennifer Reilly

At 15 years of age, Jennifer Reilly won a bronze medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in the 400m Individual Medley and continued to be successful in the event over the decade that followed, claiming gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and Bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

To some of you these names are unfamiliar.  I encourage you to get to know your sports history, because without the success of those who have come before us we wouldn’t have such a supportive path to follow.

To access the Swimming Australia ‘Australian Swimmer Numbers’ List, head to - and get “googling”.

Follow Alice on Twitter: @Alice_Tait



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