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Marion Swimming Club

Mr WINGARD (Mitchell) (12:43): I rise to speak on this motion as well and note that, when it was first brought to the house, it was to wish all the Australian athletes well. Now, in the wake of the games, it is obviously to commend them for their efforts. I know everyone has spoken about a number of athletes, and I will be brief here. I want to speak about one athlete from my local area. As we looked forward towards the games, we were speaking about a very exciting young man who trains at the Marion Swimming Club in my local area, and his name is Kyle Chalmers.

If I had mentioned him before the games, a lot of people might not have known who he was. When we are talking about him after the games, everyone knows who is for his outstanding performance in the 100 metres freestyle. Probably at the halfway mark of that swim a lot of people would not have known who Kyle Chalmers was. He was nowhere to be seen as they turned, but as they headed for home—I must say that in my past life I have watched a lot of sporting events on the land and in the water, across the gamut—I do not think he was in the swim until about the last 10 metres. Never before have I seen such a great performance. It is one of the all-time greatest performances in a sporting arena that I have ever seen, and I really do commend him for that wonderful gold medal—it was outstanding.

I mentioned that he swims for the Marion Swimming Club and lives in and around my community. The member for Flinders rightly points out that he is from the West Coast and is a Port Lincoln boy, but we are claiming him at the Marion Swimming Club, and our community was very supportive of him. In fact, the morning after, my office staff were so supportive and elated that they had posters of Kyle stuck all around our office; we thought he was absolutely sensational. It was a great achievement for a young man, and he is going on to do bigger and better things. It is just one of those highly successful stories to have come out of the Olympic Games, and I just wanted to note his being from our local area.

I also take this opportunity to mention the Marion Swimming Club, which was established in 1979 to serve the wider community. In 1982, just three years after it was formed, it became the youngest club to be awarded Club of the Year by the state governing body, Swimming SA, and has since won the award on a number of occasions, the latest being in 2005 and 2006.

They do a marvellous job, and have had some great names involved with the club over the time—state, national, commonwealth and Olympic-level athletes, including Hall of Fame member Glenn Beringen; Olympic and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Martin Roberts; Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sally Hunter; and Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist Matt Cowdrey, Australia's greatest Paralympian. Pete Bishop was our long-time coach with the Marion Swimming Club and has done a great job as a swim coach right across the state. I know that he has had a lot of success in his time, and we commend him as well.

I point out the great work they do. Adam Luscombe is in charge of the YMCA and is manager of the South Australian Aquatic Centre, and he does a great job. To have this facility so close to my office is great. I go there for lunch often and catch up with people there, and what it does for the community is absolutely outstanding. I know the member for Bright has a gym membership there as well. It is a great way for people to meet, stay fit and healthy, and be involved with this from the elite level right down to the wonderful young kids and juniors we see going through that swim club. They do some great work in the disability sector as well; a lot of young and older people go through there who engage with that swimming centre and are really improving their quality of life. 

I would like it to go on record that we know there were problems with the build of that centre—the Candetti build—and we know there are some ongoing issues with that. This is our state's premier aquatic centre and facility. We know the Minister for Recreation and Sport often goes to a lot of these events, including Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, right around the world. He likes to get along to a sporting event at any opportunity, but he has not structured a plan as to how we will get a Commonwealth Games or something of that ilk in South Australia. I am really keen to keep pushing him on that, because he will go to the events, take guests along and have a good time—and good on him for that—but he has not actually directed a path for South Australia to get the Commonwealth Games.

We see that the Gold Coast is getting a Commonwealth Games. A regional part of Queensland is getting a Commonwealth Games before South Australia and Adelaide, which I think is somewhat disappointing. As far as the facilities are concerned, the minister must also work hard to make sure that this stays as an international venue because, again, the problems with the build and maintaining the facility at that standard is something that is very important to our community and our state. I fear that perhaps that investment has not been made by the minister and I would like to think that is not the case.

All the while, the Marion Swimming Club does a great job, and no doubt the pride of the swim club at the moment is Kyle Chalmers. We commend him for his great effort at the Rio Olympics, along with all the other athletes. I will not mention them all by name, as I know that others want to speak, but I just wanted to get that on the record.

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