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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4456


Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (16:57): On indulgence, it is with great pride and sadness that I stand here today to pay my condolences to the family of Iain Murray Rose. The champion swimmer died on 15 April after a battle with leukaemia, leaving behind his wife, Jodi; his son, Trevor; and his daughter, Somerset. Since his death last month, Rose has been hailed as one of the greatest Olympic swimmers of all time, a pioneer for distance swimming, Australia's golden boy, a great mate, a bloody nice guy and an Olympic legend.

When I think of Murray Rose, the word 'champion' comes to mind. He set 15 world records and won four Olympic gold medals for Australia in 1956 and 1960. He was just 17 years old at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, where he won three gold medals in the four-by-200-metre freestyle relay, the 400-metre freestyle and the 1,500-metre freestyle. Then, in 1960 in Rome, he held onto his 400-metre freestyle title and won a silver medal in the 1,500-metre event behind fellow Australian John Konrads. Rose missed out on the 1964 Tokyo games because he was studying in the United States and had to sit exams at university. He described this as his biggest sporting regret. John Konrads said Rose missed out on competing in Tokyo and Australia missed out on a gold medal as a result. Murray Rose represented Australia for the last time at the Perth Commonwealth Games in 1962. He won every event he swam in, bagging four gold medals.

In his eulogy, Rose's teammate Dawn Fraser described him as a pioneer for 1,500-metre swimmers. She said he set the example for a list of fine Australian swimmers to follow, including Grant Hackett, Kieren Perkins and Daniel Kowalski, who modelled their strokes on his beautiful swimming style, which was very coordinated and strong.

Throughout this country's sporting history, we have been very lucky to produce athletes that set a good example both on and off the sporting field. I believe Rose is a fine example of an athlete who was not tainted by his national hero status. He remained a true gentleman, an all-round nice guy, both in and out of the pool.

In my electorate we have many young swimmers who are training hard to achieve their goals in swimming clubs and squads across Macarthur. I consider these swimmers fortunate to have had a role model like Murray Rose to set the standard for Australian swimming. One local swimmer in particular is Daniel Tranter, from Bradbury, who has made the Australian team for the London Olympics in the 200-metre and the 400-metre individual medley. Daniel has put in the hard work to achieve his goals. I know that his parents, peers and the Macarthur community are all very proud of him. In a media interview, Daniel's dad, Peter, said that, while growing up, Daniel wasn't always the best swimmer. He said his son was never the one who always came first and, while he had the potential, he did not always have the technique. Peter said Daniel put in the hard work and now has the Australian Olympic team jacket to prove it. Daniel's story is like that of many young swimmers from all over Australia who have dedicated their lives to sport in the hope that one day the hard work will pay off and they will achieve their goals and represent their country. I am sure that, like Murray Rose, Daniel will show the true qualities of an Australian champion both in and out of the pool in London. I wish him the best of luck and so does all of Macarthur.

Dawn Fraser has described the death of Murray Rose as a great loss to the Olympic family, a great loss to the swimming community and a great loss to the wider community. I wholeheartedly agree. Olympic Committee president John Coates described Rose as a person who represents all that is good in life, with a generosity of spirit, values and virtues that embody that of the Olympic movement. He was definitely an athlete that we could be proud of to represent our country, an athlete who set a great example for all generations of Olympic swimmers to follow.

We all know that swimming is a sport that requires unbelievable amounts of commitment and determination. Our Olympic swimmers spend hours and hours in training, morning and night, doing what most will agree is a very challenging and isolating sport. They do this so that they can wear the green and gold and represent this country on the world stage. In doing so, they give younger generations hope and encouragement to work hard and become the best they can be.

Today, I would like to publicly thank Murray Rose for the fine example he set for future generations of Australian athletes and the impressive qualities he possessed that made him a legendary swimmer and a great human being. He was described as part of the swimming DNA of Australia, whose success inspired a generation. I believe he has left behind a wonderful legacy for Australia, not only in the record books but in the example he has set for the future athletes of this country. Thank you.