OLYMPIC gold medallist Alicia Coutts answered the hard questions at Woolsthorpe Primary School yesterday.
It was the swimmer’s only visit to an Australian school as part of an Australian Institute of Sport competition.
She’s the third Australian to win five medals, including one gold, at one Olympics and spent yesterday morning with some of the youngsters at their swimming lessons.
She told the youngsters she began swimming lessons at 18 months after her mother continually found her trying to get into the next door neighbour’s pool.
Coutts, 26, said when she was six her dad told her she would one day go to the Olympics. Tragically her dad passed away when she was seven.
“I made the Olympic team in 2008 and I know my dad would have been proud,” she said.
In 2005 she had glandular fever and was sleeping 18 hours a day. But by 2006 she had defied the odds and went to the Australian Institute of Sport.
Coutts said the challenges continued when in 2007 she had major abdominal surgery. Despite this she made the Olympic team six months later.
“I was very determined to get back in the water and make the team,” she said. “I was persistent and stuck with it.”
At the Commonwealth Games in 2010 she won five gold medals.
“I’m still swimming and I’m loving it,” she said. “I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to.”
The visit was made after teacher Jakki Fryer entered a competition on an Australian Institute of Sport teaching resource which encouraged children to be active.