Kieren passes on swim tips
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IT might have been nothing more than a whistlestop visit to Coffs Harbour on Saturday but it was long enough for Australian swimming legend Kieren Perkins to leave an indelible impression on local swimmers.
Running two swimming clinics for locals as part of Qantas' 'Share the Spirit' program, Perkins was thankful that the venue was Coffs Harbour's inddor pool on Park Beach Road when he looked outside at the weekend weather.
Passing on tips to more than a dozen swimmers, the 33 year old admitted that pushing swimmers every day of the week isn't for him but the one-off clinics suit him down to the ground.
"I'm not a coach and I don't pretend to be one," Perkins said.
"But after 10 years on the Australian team, almost 20 years of training and competing, there's just so much knowledge that you collect and I guess one of the things that sport doesn't do so well in this country is provide mentoring opportunities for people like myself to pass on their knowledge.
"When Qantas first came to me with the idea of doing this, I was right on it. I thought that this would be good for me because it lets me get out there and share that as a bit of an outlet for that knowledge.
"I also know when I was a kid what it was like, having the opportunity to see the people that you've watched swim and just even talking to them and realising that there's nothing special about me. I'm a normal human like everybody else, I just had an opportunity and I worked very hard and I achieved extraordinary things which is a distinction that I try to make."
During his session with the younger swimmers, the two-time Olympic Gold medallist told the group that there's no substitute for hard work when it comes to creating success.
"I guess one of the things that my experience has taught me and it's something that I think about a lot obviously having kids myself is that the people who become the most successful in life are the ones that are challenged and learn how to deal with challenges," Perkins said.
"Kids who are extremely talented and just win everything every time they turn up because they're skilful, they never really learn how to challenge themselves, they don't really learn how to deal with setbacks and defeat and even to an extent how to properly cope with victory as well.
"It's important from my point of view to get that message out there, to make kids understand that just because you're not the under nine champion doesn't mean that you'll never be a great swimmer."