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©2013-16 Grant Da Costa

Sydney Olympic Pool & Hall of Fame + NSW Masters State Swimming Championships 20-21 March 2015

Despite years of training I have always wondered why I can’t swim as fast as my namesake, Grant Hackett. Now I know. Leanne and I travelled to the Sydney Olympic Pool and Aquatic Centre (SOPAC) to compete in the 2015 NSW Masters State Swimming Championships. While there we took time out to visit the Hall of Fame where the reasons for my inadequacies became obvious when I shoved my pinkies in Grant’s castings (below). The foot comparison was even more embarrassing.

It is awe-inspiring and humbling to wander around the complex and see the glory of Australian swimming displayed on the walls. Then to compete over two days in the very same pool - how good is that? Almost as good as hitting the wall, turning around and looking up to see your name glowing on the massive results board with a Personal Best time and a place on the podium - heroes and heroines for a day. I can report that the cheers were not as loud as in 2000 - never mind.

Left: Leanne in Lane 6 takes the blocks for the start of the 100 metres butterfly, surround by massive blokes. Bronze medal coming up!

Right: how to make yourself feel inadequate - try to walk in the shoes of Grant Hackett.

The Hall of Fame (right) has displays detailing the achievements of Australia’s greatest swimmers. Not surprisingly, it is very long. Curiously, of all the swimmers who have hand and foot castings there, Ian Thorpe is the only one whose feet are not included (below). The size of his wrap sheet makes up for that. Leanne’s theory is that his size 17 feet won’t fit, but I think there is more to it than that though I don’t know what. Extensive Googling has failed to reveal why the feet aren’t there, nor has it revealed Grant Hackett’s shoe size for comparison.

We swim with Coffs Harbour Masters and are coached by Daniel Bannerman (second from left in the photo at right). That’s myself and Leanne far right, Hilary at left, and Richie in the middle.

Our small team of five was successful in winning Division 4 of the Championships (trophy in the photo, far right).

We each had five individual swims. Daniel put in his usual stellar performance, winning 5 gold medals. Richie: 1 gold, 4 silver. Hilary: 3 silver and 1 bronze.

Leanne’s medals were:

50m butterfly: silver

100m butterfly: bronze

50m freestyle: bronze

My three medals were all bronze: 50 and 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Right: at SOPAC after the championships, sitting with bronze plaques celebrating the greats, tired but happy.