FIDGE’S LAST LAP
12-year coaching career comes to end on the Downs
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.”
GOOD RAPPORT: Darling Downs record breakers Cooper Harm and Emma Day with coach Andrew Fidge.