12-year coach­ing ca­reer comes to end on the Downs

Warwick Daily News - - Sport - MAR­IAN FAA Mar­ian.Faa@war­wick­dai­

IF SALINE read­ings have been lit­tle higher than nor­mal at WIRAC, it may be be­cause a few tears slipped into the pool.

A team of swim­mers showed their emo­tion on the last day of laps with a coach who has taken War­wick kids to na­tional glory and put Olympians through their paces.

Pop­u­lar and re­spected coach An­drew Fidge’s 12-year coach­ing ca­reer on the South­ern Downs came to a close.

Ten-year-old Con­nie Seutin was among the young ath­letes sad to say good­bye to a cher­ished men­tor.

“He's al­ways makes us laugh and he al­ways puts fun into it even if he makes us do a 200,” Con­nie said.

From Clifton to Kil­lar­ney, there are few pools in the South­ern Downs Fidge hasn’t coached in.

“Yeah it has been hard, this sea­son has been hard know­ing that it’s go­ing to be my last,” he said.

Fidge looked back on a ca­reer that fos­tered last­ing friend­ships.

“I’ve taught whole fam­i­lies and kids at all dif­fer­ent lev­els,” he said.

His big­gest achieve­ment was back in 2006, when two of his best swim­mers won na­tional gold medals in back-to-back races.

“To get two na­tional gold medals out of a coun­try 25 me­ter pool was some­thing pretty spe­cial,” Fidge said.

Con­nie’s fa­ther Pe­ter Seutin said Fidge was a coach like no other.

“The main thing he does is get kids to be­lieve in them­selves and know they can do things.

“That is what his tal­ent is, he makes kids be­lieve in them­selves.”

But de­spite los­ing his lease on the Kil­lar­ney pool, Fidge is look­ing for­ward to the next chap­ter of life in Toowoomba, where his fam­ily has re­cently moved.

But he was de­ter­mined to go out with a splash.

The squad had one fi­nal hoorah, with three sil­ver medals in the bag and 14 swim­mers qual­i­fy­ing for state swim­ming cham­pi­onships last week.

Swim­ming brothers Cooper and Bai­ley Harm both made it on to the state team.

Fidge said it didn’t mat­ter whether it was na­tional cham­pi­onships or a lo­cal meet, ev­ery race was worth­while.

“You get a kick out of all the races you watch the kids swim,” he said.

“They jump up there and they race.”

And what makes a good coach?

“Abil­ity, knowl­edge and how you im­part it,” Fidge said.

“Plus em­pa­thy. You’ve got to have a good rap­port with your swim­mers.”

Photo: Con­trib­uted

GOOD RAP­PORT: Dar­ling Downs record break­ers Cooper Harm and Emma Day with coach An­drew Fidge.

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