Q&A with Susie O’Neill
Click here for an exclusive Q&A with Susie O’Neill, Olympic Swimmer, Swimart Ambassador and mother!
How did your swimming career begin? What age were you? I was nine years old and my mum joined me up at the local club, Hibiscus Gardens, which was a lot of fun.
How important was your backyard pool to you when you were growing up? Very important. We spent most of our spare time in the pool, we played a lot of make believe games and did obstacle races over toys from one end to the other. We could play in there for hours.
Why did you choose butterfly? It sort of chose me. I started going well in that stroke and winning lots of races so I chose the 200m butterfly as I saw it as an opportunity to make the Olympic team that year in 1992.
Do you swim much now? Yes, I swim about 2km every second day as it keeps me fit and healthy.
At what age did your kids start swimming and do they love it? My kids started when they were babies. They’re actually at the pool at the moment with a friend.
Would you encourage them to swim professionally? No. If they really wanted to, I would support them, but I would prefer them to do other things and create their own future.
Why do you think Australia is so good at swimming on the international stage? The weather has a lot to do with it. In Queensland kids spend so much time in the pool playing and want to be in the water. Where it’s cold, it would be a lot harder to get in and absolutely love it.
Who had the greatest influence on your swimming career and why? My first coach Mr Wakefield. He took me from a nine-year-old to an Olympic medallist. He was a really good coach – nurturing and not too pushy.