“Swimming is a sport of inches, you have to fight for every single inch to be the best.” -Bill Kirby.
Bill Kirby is an Olympic Gold Medallist and Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder. Kirby made his debut at the 1993 Pan Pacific Championships before competing at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada and the 1994 World Aquatics Championships in Rome as a butterfly swimmer. Kirby’s last international competition was at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, where along with Klim, Hackett and Thorpe, he lowered the 4x200m freestyle relay world record to 7m 4.66s. That record held firm for nearly six years until United States relay team clocked in at 7m 3.24s at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia. Bill, now a father of three, and with help of his wife, Saskia, and the rest of the Kirby Swim Team focuses on offering the best swimming education and coaching in Australia.
Bill Kirby’s 2 day swim clinic organised by DSA was held on 4th and 5th June. Bill took time off his schedule to be with the aspiring swimmers not only from the DSA swim Team but also other clubs from Malaysia. There were swimmers from Penang and Johor clubs who came to attend and learn from his expertise.
The Clinic was 2 full days of tightly packed events with both classroom sessions and a lot of pool sessions. Bill first started off with the refining of basic techniques like improving underwater swims, to improving turns and then the starts. During the course of the 2 days, swimmers were put through their paces, improving the little areas to gain that much of an edge. The swim clinic was unique because it not only focused on techniques, but it challenged the swimmers to improve small parts of their swimming skills. The clinic also included a game of water polo to provide an experience of team spirit. DSA coaches also attended the clinic and along with Bill helped the swimmers further refine many finer points.
The class room sessions gave the opportunity for swimmers to learn and understand the amount of training and dedication Bill had to put in to become an Olympian. Experiences were shared also by Bill’s father, Bob, who talked to the swimmers parents about their part in supporting a swimmer to achieve their goals. It was a very jovial atmosphere as Bob had many anecdotes to share about the early days which gave the parents attending a lot of experiences to connect with. As he said, the idea was to always let the children perform their best, and not solely about winning. As long as they did their best and enjoyed what they did, winning was not important. It was a delightful experience in all for the swimmers got to learn from an Olympic Champion and hopefully they will benefit from Bill Kirby’s experience which he shared in these 2 days.