The ODT’s coverage of Duncan Laing’s funeral has several anecdotes and includes:
His protege, double Olympic gold medal winner Danyon Loader recalled the humour and his coach’s words of encouragement before a race: “Give it your all. Don’t worry if you drown. I’ll jump in and rescue you.”
“He gave me . . . the courage to go out there and try, even if it seemed impossible – to give it a go.”
The ODT reports on Duncan Laing’s funeral here.
Readers pay their tributes here. They include this from paralymipic gold medalist Jenny Newstead:
The thing that people don’t realise is that Duncan had a massive influence on paralympic swimmers. He never treated a swimmer with a disability any different to any other swimmer in the squad. When I swam in Barcelona in 1992, I was two body lengths ahead of the field. They were a bit worried over there, but then they realised I was well trained. At that time, paralympic swimmers were not usually coached by Olympic-level coaches. Duncan set the bar. He said it didn’t matter whether you had a disability or not….
TV1 covers the funeral here.
The ODT devotes its editorial to the legacy of Duncan Laing.
ODT Sports editor Brent Edwards pays tribute to Duncan Laing here.
The Sunday Star Times has tributes from Michael Donaldson and Greg Ford.
Predictably they concentrate on the man and his contribution to sport but he also made a huge contribution to the Duendin economy. Edwards recalls Laing teaching his children to swim and says:
“Come on champ, just one more try,” he would say. It could have been his catchcry. Hundreds (or is it thousands?) of Dunedin families could tell a similar story.
But it wasn’t just Dunedin families. Oamaru didn’t have a covered pool when our daughter was young so I used to take her and one of her cousins to Laing’s swimming school in the May and August holidays.
While watching at the poolside I met parents from all over Otago and futher afield doing the same thing.
It wasn’t just the money we spent on lessons, we were also paying for accommodation, food, entrance to other city attractions like the movies and museum and of course some retail therapy.
All those country children learning to swim over all those holidays over all those years must have poured a lot of money into Dunedin and we were all there because of Duncan Laing.
Duncan Laing died in Dunedin this morning.
He is best known as the coach of of double Olympic gold medal swimmer Danyon Loader, but he also taught many thousands of chidlren to swim, among whom was my daughter.
I can see him now, walking around Moana Pool, dressed in immaculately pressed walk shorts and polo shirt, earning both respect and affection from his pupils.
Duncan was a big man but also a gentle man who always emphasised water safety.
One of the first things he taught chidlren was to roll on to their backs and float. Once they’d mastered that in the learners’ pool he marched them through to the diving well to give them the confidence they’d need to do it if ever they got into deep water.
He was very patient with reluctant swimmers. One of his tricks was to give them a rope to hold on to. He’d tow them to get them started then once they were kicking under their own steam he dropped the rope without them knowing they were on their own. By the time they realised he wasn’t on the other end of the rope they realised they could float without it.
TV3 has a tribute here.