clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dan's Trip To Cameron

Daniel Kowalski, Aussie swimming star & now official DBR Olympian, has
sent us some notes on his trip to Durham, where he got to meet the team and
Coach K. He's as big a fan as anyone we know, and pretty obviously, he groks it.
Dan won a silver and two bronzes in the 1996 Summer Olympics, a gold in the 1998 World Championships, and was a member of the world record-breaking 4x200m relay team in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. (For more information on Dan, here's a web site devoted to him.) Anyway, here's his account of his time in Durham. Thanks, Dan!

Damn, where do I start about my trip. It really was incredible. For years I had know way of finding out how Duke
was doing, it was a nightmare. Then we got cable a few years back and they started showing college hoops which made it a lot easier to follow....

Visiting the campus was everything I expected and more. It was weird walking in.
Jeff Lamere had organised everything but when I got to the ticket desk they
couldn't find my tickets so they had to get Jeff. I knew it was him when I arrived as
I had seen him on TV. I was pissed though as I missed the team running out. my seats were sweet, three rows behind the bench.

As I mentioned in my story (published in Australia - DBR) meeting and standing with
Wojo during the game was incredible and then getting the opportunity to hang with him was a dream come true.
I mean, how many people get to meet their heroes, let alone hang out with them.
Here is a guy whom I think is incredible, talk about someone who is passionate about
their sport and life. we keep in touch 

As you can imagine, Coach K, the man just as an aura about him.
The first time I saw him walk into the office I froze. I  didn't get to meet him until practice and he was really nice, and he sent me the nicest letter a few weeks after my trip.
The guy has the best ability to motivate. I was jumping out of my skin as he talked.
I have been very fortunate to meet people of important stature; none had the aura or brilliance that he
did. It is really hard to describe. Being able to sit in the locker room as they scouted was, well,
I cant think of words to do it justice

I got to hang with Quin and his girlfriend
a bit too. They had a BBQ one night so I got to meet a few of the players which was incredible.
Unfortunately I didn't get to speak to them much, and they thought I was a coach from
Australia!! Shane Battier and Chris Carrawell were the coolest. I wish I would have had an opportunity to talk,
but  maybe another time. Watching those two now is cool. It is great to see them stepping up.
They are such true leaders in every sense of the word. All in all it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

I honestly mean when I say this but I got more goosebumps watching the games in
Cameron indoor than I did when I was at the Olympics. To me the basketball program at
Duke is what sport is about. In a day and age when money is taking over sport,
Duke is pure, entertaining, inspiring and motivating. I feel for the sport lovers in this country who
haven't experienced it, it would blow them away. Talk about being passionate,
those crazies are incredible.

It is funny, I have got so many of the Australian swim team a little interested.
We were in San Antonio when Duke played Illinois. Over half the team was glued to the tv. 
It was funny. they had all seen me wearing Duke gear but didn't know what it
meant. They do now!!

I could go on about this for ages, as I am sure all fans could. I am not sure what
I am doing with my career at this stage. We have Olympic trials in may. I am hoping
I will be fit enough but shoulder surgery has screwed things for me, but life goes on.

I remember hearing during the Maui Invitational when Duke played that they were going back there in either 2000 or 2001,so
I'll go to that. Other than that I will definitely be there in 2001.

I can't tell you how keen
I am to see a Duke v UNC at cameron.  Before I race I always watch Duke v
UNC @ Cameron in 98. That final 9 minutes gets me pumped I love it. One thing I know for sure is that how
Duke goes is how I go. I was at Worlds in Hong Kong during the Final Four. I was so upset after they lost
I didn't want to swim. One of my best friends goes to  Stanford, and she made life hell for
me,  but i eventually refocused and swam for a Bronze, but man, was i so upset for the guys.

Okay mate,
I have dribbled on .I am not sure if this is what you wanted to know. anyways, like
I said I am flattered that I made it to your page.( if I ever run into steve I should thank him).
My dream if I  could have my life over is to be the point guard at DUKE for coach
K. I know that will never happen. but I am content with making it in the worlds most popular college web site "DBR"....keep up the great work!!

Duke fan Down Under