Former champion boxer Danny Green has highlighted the camaraderie and inclusiveness of Western Australia’s swimming community, with a stirring tribute to three young swimmers at this week’s 2015 The West Australian Newspapers State Short Course Championships.
Green, who has been in the crowd at the event to support daughter Chloe, witnessed two Perth City swimmers, Katie McFarlane (Current Year 11 student at Corpus Christi College) and Sabrina Seitz, jump to the assistance of South Shore Swim Club member Stephen Donovan. (Former Corpus Christi College student)
Donovan had to withdraw from his 200m IM race after losing his googles at race start and was visibly upset with the outcome.
Sitting in the stands watching events occur McFarlane and Seitz, who had both previously swum for South Shore, quickly decided to rush to the pool deck to console and support Donovan.
“We were sitting in the stands and we saw him come up from his dive with his goggles around his neck,” McFarlane said.
“I just looked at Sabrina and said ‘should we go?’and she said yes, so we went down.”
Keen to ensure that Donovan, who has competed in several events at the Championships, didn’t lose focus, McFarlane and Sietz were quick to remind him of his previous successes, most notably at last year’s Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships in Mexico.
“He was angry at himself but we reminded him that it happens to everyone and you just have to keep swimming through it,” McFarlane said.
“He was still upset but when we mentioned Mexico he cheered up.”
The support of the rival club members was noted by Green, who posted a note to his 500,000+ followers about the incident.
“Hope this gets you thinking a bit. Watching swimming comp today and the race starts for two disabled swimmers. The fella makes a great dive in but unfortunately his goggles came off his head and it ruined his start and race,” he wrote.
“Poor bloke was so upset. He grabbed his goggles and swam back to the start and got out on the edge of the pool. Shattered. Devastated. This bloke, like all the swimmers who compete, sacrifice so much, and he had worked so damn hard for this one moment, only for it to be ruined by a mishap.
“It was so lovely to see two big hearted young girls from another team walk up and console him and give him a hug and walk with him.
If you are having a bad day ‘cause you have a cold, or something didn't go your way…but it's not a real big deal, spare a thought for this trooper, whose day was truly buggered cause of the not only the struggle he has on a daily basis, but also because this race he had worked so bloody hard for was over and you could see how much it meant to him.”
Green took the opportunity today to meet McFarlane and Seitz, as well as Donovan, and shake their hands.
“This is not about me, it’s about the kids,” he told Swimming WA today. “If I can help show what they did then that’s all I want.”
The girls were also presented with a gift of thanks by Donovan for their support.