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Swimming to replace shame with fame

May 3, 2013

Aussie Mens Relay

Coming off a year that displayed some of the worst characteristics of the Australian team, Swimming Australia intends to redress the balance by honouring all of the best in a hall of fame for the sport.

The Swimming Australia board yesterday approved the proposal, championed by new board member and Olympic medallist Nicole Livingstone, and will appoint an expert panel to consider nominations for what is expected to be “the highest honour and recognition that an individual can achieve within swimming”.

It is designed to recognise the sport’s “most illustrious, revered and respected champions”.

Those in the running for immediate nomination will include the likes of Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose, Andrew “Boy” Charlton, Australia’s first Olympic swimming champion Freddy Lane and modern champions such as Kieren Perkins and Susie O’Neill.

A swimmer will have to be retired for four years before they can be considered.

That means Ian Thorpe, Australia’s greatest Olympic gold medal-winner, will not be eligible for some years yet after coming back last year.

Inductees will have “made a significant contribution to Australian swimming, to Australian sport in general and to Australia” and be “of good character”.

Hall of fame membership will be divided into three categories: swimmers; coaches, officials and others associated with the sport; and a legends division for the “best of the best”.

The selection panel will comprise of a board member, a representative of the Australian Swimmers Association, a representative of the coaches association, and a media specialist or historian.

They will consider nominations once a year and inductees will be announced at the annual swimmer of the year awards.

Swimming Australia has yet to select a permanent home for the hall of fame and will be examining options over the coming months.

theaustralian

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