By Steve Thomas
MELBOURNE, September 7. THE Aussies are serious about beating the US in the pool. Last night Australian swimming legend, Dawn Fraser, joined the 2000 Aussie team in camp in Melbourne. Fraser, the team's Athlete Liaison Officer, will be with the swimmers until they fly into Sydney on Sunday. It
followed yesterday's visit from 1984 Olympic butterfly gold medalist Jon Sieben.
Fraser, the first swimmer in history to win individual gold medals in the same event (100 meter free) in three consecutive Olympiads, was welcomed to the camp at a special team gathering, by triple Olympic medalist from 1996, Daniel Kowalski. Like the 44-strong Australian team, Fraser, prepared to attend the early morning training session on Friday with National head coach Don Talbot.
Fraser mingled with the Australian swimmers and felt comfortable in the camp environment. "It is always great to come in an visit the kids, it brings back wonderful memories and actually, I can't believe how relaxed they all look. It's a great sign," said Fraser. The former 100 freestyle golden girl from 1956, 1960 and 1964 is a hot favorite to light the flame at the Opening Ceremony next Friday night.
The visit by Fraser was seen by Australian Team Media Director, Ian Hanson, as just the right tonic to keep the team focused on their own preparation. His comment comes after dual gold medalist Kieren Perkens became involved in a "press war" with American freestyle sprint star Gary Hall earlier in the week.