The Cootamundra Swim Meet, at which swimmers from 14 clubs in the south west swimming zone competed, was given a huge buzz yesterday morning with a race between an elite world championship swimmer and an 11-year-old from Cootamundra.
The race was the brainchild of Dawn Fraser, legendary Australian Olympic swimmer, with tickets raffled for $5 for a chance to compete against Kurt Herzog, a bronze medal winner at the World Championships in 2015.
Kurt and Dawn arrived in Cootamundra on Saturday, and spent hours at the 25-metre pool helping young Cootamundra swimmers to improve their strokes and swimming performances, as well as lending their presence to the Meet on Sunday.
The raffle winner was Archie Blackman, an 11-year-old Cootamundra swimmer whose best time for 50m freestyle is 39 seconds.
Kurt, currently recovering from injury and hoping to join the Australian team for the next year’s Tokyo Olympics, has a best time of 24 seconds and is currently swimming around 26.
The race began with Kurt allowing a 12-second start to Archie – who moved through the water very fast but not fast enough to reach the finish before Kurt.
Cootamundra Swim Club President Mark Lake said the event created a great atmosphere around the pool for the rest of the day.
“It was an opportunity for children to see an Olympic swimmer in our pool, and for parents it was an eye-witness opportunity to see just how fast elite swimmers can move, as opposed to just seeing it on television.”
Mark’s video of the event, included with this story, gives a good idea of the crowd excitement it generated.