Published: Oct 5, 2012 05:42:41 PM Updated: Oct 31, 2012 12:04:04 PM
Over 30 young athletes from the Epping Aquajets Swimming Club in Melbourne’s North will receive a visit from 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Matt Haanappell as part of the EnergyAustralia GO Swim month.
Hannanapell, a member of Australia’s Paralympic gold medal winning 4x100m freestyle relay team, will pass on his swimming experiences, teach new skills and talk to young swimmers about their journey towards Olympic and Paralympic success.
The swimmers will undertake a training session with Haanappell before a barbecue lunch where they will have the opportunity to mingle and chat with the Paralympian at the Thomaston’s Recreation Aquatic Centre.
Having begun his swimming career at the Lilydale Swimming Club in 2005, Haanappel has quickly set about making an impact in the sport, putting his success down to hard work and support from his club, family and friends.
“It’s important to have a strong club and support crew behind you. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with clubs that work with you to ensure that you succeed in your endeavors; it’s an amazing feeling,” Haanappel said.
As a young swimmer, the multiple Paralympics medallist drew inspiration from meeting the likes of Ellie Cole and Matthew Cowdrey.
“I can remember being spurred on to reach the highest level by Olympic and Paralympic athletes. My club gave me the opportunity to interact with my heroes which was an experience that only intensified my love for swimming.”
Now a member of the Nunawading Swimming Club, Haanappel believes that ‘having a go’ is the most important value when it comes to swimming.
“I really believe in the values of participation and ‘having a go’. You don’t have to be the best athlete to get enjoyment out of swimming. The lifelong friends you gain, and the experiences you have, make swimming all the more enjoyable”, Haanappel said.
Encouraging participation is vital for the sport’s future and EnergyAustralia Director, Adrian Merrick says the energy provider is proud to be supporting GO Swim month and Australia’s favourite summer pastime, swimming.
“In partnership with Swimming Australia we will seek out new and innovative opportunities for our customers, to support elite Australian swimmers to achieve their goals and promote safe and healthy swimming for Australian families,” Mr Merrick says.
The Victorian GoSwim days will continue throughout October, for more information on how to join a club or get involved with the GoSwim activities, visit http://www.goswim.org.au