West Australia Gets Aquatic Facility Cash Infusion

Get your news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’  With each edition, we collect personal stories, little-known facts, and general items of interest from around the world. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 McNair High School Names Pool After Late Michael Leabo

McNair High School in Stockton, California honored the late Michael Leabo by naming its pool after the beloved coach.

Leabo, who died on January 13th, was the water polo and swimming coach at McNair but also dedicated time coaching at St. Mary’s High school, the Boys & Girls Club, Spanos Ducks Teams, Big Valley Water Polo, and San Joaquin Delta College.

One of his former athletes both at Big Valley Water Polo and Delta College, Nathan Varosh, said of his mentor, “He was just very positive, he was always encouraging his athletes. He had a great knowledge of the game and just a really amazing skill set to connect with kids and teach them the game.” (RecordNet)

Growing up in the Bay Area, Leabo played at Tokay High as a goalie and was inducted into the Lodi Hall of Fame for water polo.

#2 Namibia Swimmer Earns Scholarship

The Frank Fredericks Foundation recently donated a N$10,000 scholarship (~$700 USD) to 14-year-old swimmer, Ariana Naukosho.

The Foundation, which was started in 1999 by Honorable Prime Minister, Hage Geingob, says that Naukosho is a ‘committed and hardworking swimmer who continues to show great talent and exemplifies perseverance.’

Said Fredericks, “There are many young, outstanding athletes in Namibia and we invite the public to consider awarding these young athletes scholarships as they pursue their athletics goals.”

Naukosho recently represented Namibia at the CANA Zone IV Championships, as the teen did in 2018 in Malawi, 2019 in Namibia and 2020 in Botswana. This year she also earned six bronze medals at the South African Regionals in Durban.

The Frank Fredericks Foundation was a way for the former track star to say “Thank You” to the people for all the support that he has received from them. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to young talented athletes of Namibia.

#3 Andrew Donaldson Takes Aussie Beach Marathon Swim Victory

Andrew Donaldson recently took the top prize at Australia’s longest marathon swimming event, the Ausbil Palm to Shelly beach 26k marathon.

Clocking a time of 6 hours and 5 minutes, Donaldson beat out Jenna Gold, the runner-up who came in with a time of 7 hours and 36 minutes.

The Ausbil Palm Beach to Shelly beach marathon swim is one of the three Australian Triple Crown swims, alongside the Port to Pub Rottnest 25km channel swim in Western Australia, and the Derwent River 34km river swim in Tasmania.

“The swim is arguably one of the toughest events on the Australian swimming calendar,” says event organizer and marathon swimmer, Tim Garrett. “It is a genuine and challenging measure of how an athlete is placed, not only against other athletes but also against the extreme challenge of ocean swims.”

Ausbil CEO, Ross Youngman, said: “The swim was initially established as a preparation swim for the English Channel, but has become a great opportunity for marathon swimmers to participate in an iconic ocean swim down Sydney’s northern beaches.”

#4 Prime Minister Commits $30 Million to Western Australia Pool


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $35 million toward the construction of a new aquatic center in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia.

“If you want a strong community, you need strong families. You need a community in which they can thrive.”

He continued, “Right now, North of Perth have to travel far away to have the same community facilities other parts of Perth have.”

As such, he is committing $30 million (~$21 million USD) in addition to the $5 million (~$3.5 million USD) already announced for the project. Morrison is envisioning ‘a place where the community will come together. Where kids who start squad training together will become friends for the rest of their lives.”