Olympic hopeful Matthew White talks with Premier Anna Bligh at the opening of the city’s new championship pool. Matthew took part in an exhibition race with leading swimmers, Alana Bowles, Karleigh Banks and sisters Dahlas and Lana Rogers.
Olympic hopeful Matthew White talks with Premier Anna Bligh at the opening of the city’s new championship pool. Matthew took part in an exhibition race with leading swimmers, Alana Bowles, Karleigh Banks and sisters Dahlas and Lana Rogers. Sharyn Oneill

Rocky is 'the city of champs'

ANNA Bligh called Rockhampton "the city of champions" as she opened the new world-class $5 million swimming pool today.

And then one of those champions - 22-year-old Olympic hopeful Matthew White - gave a glimpse of what all the fuss is about by winning the first exhibition race in its shimmering blue waters.

He'll go down in the record books as the first person to dive in, but the Rocky City clubman who hopes to represent Australia at 100 and 200 breaststroke at the London Olympics later this year isn't sure the new pool will help him achieve his ambitions.

"It's still to be decided if I will get to train here," said Matthew, who began his swimming 12 years ago. Maybe I'll get to use it once a week.

"The big thing for me will be if it attracts competitions to come to Rockhampton. It is so difficult and expensive to travel. I usually have to go to Sydney or Brisbane to race but this pool should give people the motivation to come here to compete in my backyard for once."

Matthew will swim in the Australian Olympic trials from March 15 to 22. He's confident he will win selection to go to London.



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