Sri Lankan born Olympic Swimmer David Wilkie.

Sri Lankan born Olympic Swimmer David Wilkie.

Reading the sad news of this sportsman’s death made me aware that he was born in Sri Lanka.

David Wilkie was born in the capital of the then named Ceylon in 1954. His parents were stationed on the island at the time.

He started swimming at the Colombo Swimming Club.

Competitive Swimming

Who was David Wilkie

“David Wilkie was an “extraordinary talent” and “one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes”, says fellow Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew”.

This is a quote from a BBC Article titled “Wilkie ‘probably one of Britain’s greatest’ – Goodhew”.

He was sent to boarding school in Edinburgh at the age of 11. At first he hated moving from the tropical island, however by his early twenties he had established himself as a champion swimmer.

From Sri Lankan Sun to Edinburgh Chlorine

In the BBC Sporting Life Podcast, David Wilkie said ” The fun of swimming in Sri Lanka’s warm waters was replaced with cold, crowded and regimented pools with nylon ropes and the smell of chlorine”.

An Olympic Champion

Swimming for Great Britain, he became Olympic 200m breaststroke champion in 1976 at the Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.

His world-record time of 2:15:11 at the event would remain unbeaten for many years.

David Wilkie is the only person to have held British, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time.

David Wilkie was Gold Medallist

Learning to swim in Scotland

Swimming lanes
Swimming the front crawl

I learnt to swim at the Commonwealth Swimming Pool in Edinburgh. My memories are that the pool was quite cold and I reluctantly went to the classes. I am however, really pleased that my parents sent me to learn to swim at an early age. Apart from keeping me safe, it has given me the opportunity to confidently join in various activities in my life.

The enjoyment I had canoeing as a boy scout would not have been as good if I was not a confient swimmer.

Learning to Scuba, when I was in Baltimore, Ireland was a great experience. It’s not something I have continued, but now living in Sri Lanka I have the opportunity to use this lapsed skill.

Swimming at the Natural Spring Fed Infinity Swimming pool at GlenMyu Estate has given me hours of pleasure.

My memories of David Wilkie

Being twelve years younger than David Wilkie, my memories are particularly around the 1976 Olympics. 

I would have only been ten years old at the time and it would have been around the time I was learning to swim in the Edinburgh pool.

One thing that I do remember is being proud that a fellow “Scot” was celebrated during a tough period in the UK. There was little to shout about at the time. David’s success meant that the USA didn’t manage a clean sweep of medals at the swimming competition.

He also typified the 1970’s for me. A fine athlete with a moustache, sideburns and wavy hair. I considered him pretty cool with that look!

He was also a bit of a rebel creating a look that was unheard of in the staid world of swimming at the time.

Swimming in Sri Lanka

I was never going to be a champion swimmer. However, I have spent many holidays in the water, whether the beach or a swimming pool.

Swimming on holiday is a great experience , especially if you don’t swim regularly at home. Apart from the well known health benefits I find it good for my mental health as well.

It is particularly good for me at GlenMyu Estate.  I listen to the birdsong in the background whilst the sea of the green surroundings makes me feel calm and connected to nature.

Stay at GlenMyu Estate and experience swimming surrounded by nature.

Stay at GlenMyu Estate as you explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country.

We only have three bedrooms and you will need to book early during the peak holiday season.

The estate is usually within an hours drive of the major sightseeing locations such as Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Town, Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Bambarakanda Waterfall and many more,

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb.
Contact us by the WhatsApp button on our website for direct booking rates.

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